Speargrass now in the Burnett
Residents urged to be aware of ‘nuisance’ plant
IT IS speargrass season in the North Burnett and property owners are encouraged to be on the lookout as it affects numerous homes.
Green Army supervisor Mark Cachia said his property was ravaged by speargrass but he had become accustomed to it.
“It’s quite visible in that it gets a distinctive flax seed head and you can pick it up from the side of the road,” Mr Cachia said.
Speargrass is found in all states of Australia but predominantly in the southern half of the continent.
Mr Cachia said speargrass, if ignored, could cause problems.
“Don’t ignore it as they begin to spiral and as a result they can get stuck into you,” he said.
“If they get stuck into you, the worst case scenario is you will have to get it physically cut out of your legs which is painful.
“It all depends on the soil type and grazing and then it becomes a grazing problem against sheep grazing.”
Mr Cachia said the black speargrass played an important role in the region.
“It’s an interesting part of the landscape, it does add character to the North Burnett and grassland areas,” he said.
“People should be aware of speargrass especially if they have young children, just let them know that they should be careful.
“I recommend wearing shorts and long socks when
❝ Don’t ignore it as they begin to spiral and as a result they can get stuck into you. — Mark Cachia
dealing with speargrass.”
Speargrass plants have a life of three to four years but researchers say the plant can last up to 12 years.
Under the continuous heavy grazing pressures often practised, speargrass can eventually be grazed.
Studies in inland and northern regions have shown utilisation rates consistently above 50% as a result in rapid declines in soil and land conditions.
Mr Cachia said the season varies depending on the region.
“When I was in the Cape York the seeds ripened in September and that was when we had speargrass but here in the Burnett region, it’s now in July,” he said.
North Burnett Regional Council chief executive officer Mark Pitt said speargrass was a bit of a nuisance but wasn’t necessarily a threat.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a threat but it has been used as fodder in the past and it can be a real problem for dogs,” he said.
“These grasses need to be managed and how we do that is by not letting grazing animals be in the paddocks where speargrass is otherwise they can eat it and then it can spread.
“It is important that farmers wash down their equipment after every use which will help stop the speargrass from spreading further.”
CREEPING UP: Speargrass is growing in the North Burnett region.