Invasive weed spreads
fighting against serrated tussock’s march across the state has urged landowners to check their properties for the noxious weed.
Ivan Carter from Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party said the weed had been spreading across western Victoria for the past decade.
“The recent rain and warm winter in some parts of Victoria has been good for crops, but unfortunately, also good for the growth of serrated tussock,” he said.
“Controlling serrated tussock before the plant goes to seed is critical to prevent further spread, lost productivity and increased control requirements.”
The largest occurrence of serrated tussock in Victoria has been at Landsborough and Hamilton.
“Infestations are also known to exist at Stawell, Ararat, Dunkeld, Lake Bolac and Glenorchy,” Mr Carter said.
“The known infestations in western Victoria are mostly being treated by landowners, in coordination with Agriculture Victoria, but it is feared there might be many more infestations not yet identified across the region.”
Analysts believe serrated tussock now covers more than 240,000 hectares in Victoria.
Large infestations of the weed require ongoing management and an integration of several control techniques. Each mature serrated tussock plant can produce 100,000 seeds in a season, blowing up to 20 kilometres from the parent plant. The Victoria Serrated Tussock Working Party, VSTWP, has advised land managers that having competitive pasture and good ground cover was one of the most important aspects to weed management.
“Serrated tussock is an example of a weed that does not like competition and well-established pastures,” Mr Carter said.
He said controlling serrated tussock before the plant went to seed was critical in preventing further spread, lost productivity and increased control requirements.
“Control can be achieved through the use of registered herbicide, manual removal or cultivation.
“We advise land managers to regularly conduct surveillance for serrated tussock and watch out for new infestations that might be blown in or introduced through fodder.
Before flowering, serrated tussock has a lime-green appearance. When flowering the flowerheads have a distinctive purple colour developing as the seeds ripen in late spring and early summer. “These features help serrated tussock stand out from the native tussock grasses,” Mr Carter said.
The VSTWP has developed an online video and information sheet, at www. serratedtussock.com, to help landowners identify the pest grass.
NEED TO CONTROL: A large infestation of serrated tussock in a grazing paddock near Bacchus Marsh.