Hi­malayan fairy grass

Mis­cant­hus­nepalen­sis

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Tales Of A Country Vet -

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.

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