Himalayan fairy grass
WHAT IS IT?
This hardy perennial grass forms a 1m-high, arching clump so it looks very similar to native snow tussocks. Stiff, narrow leaves gradually taper to a point and have rough edges and an obvious pale green midrib. Drooping, fanshaped, golden-brown flower-heads appear on long stems in autumn. These sit well above the foliage and develop into a mass of fluffy seeds.
It spreads easily by wind-blown seed, and its shallow rhizomatous root system also breaks off and grows easily. The root system can become extensive which makes it difficult to control.
It has become problematic in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions, where it has spread into natural areas such as forest margins, roadsides and wasteland. It also grows well on open cliffs.
The plant creates dense thickets and forms extensive infestations that prevent the germination and growth of other plants. It rapidly colonises disturbed or open areas, and can invade large areas of bushland after fire, out-competing all native species.
WAYS TO GET RID OF IT
1. Remove any flowerheads and seed heads. Place in bags and dispose of at a refuse transfer station. 2. Dig out plants, ensuring all roots are removed and disposed of at a refuse transfer station. 3. Plants can be sprayed with 10 ml/l glyphosate + penetrant. Replant the area with dense groundcover soon after control and follow up on open sites for at least 10 years to check for seedlings.
1 THING YOU SHOULD NEVER DO
Avoid burning as this increases its growth, vigour and seed production.