Weeds Guide

Overview

Identification and early intervention are the key principles to preventing the spread of weeds.

Weeds can threaten crops, horticulture and pasture production, be poisonous and cause injury to stock and lessen the value of agricultural products such as grain, hay and wool. Weeds can also invade native plant communities and reduce plant diversity and habitat for native animals.

The Goulburn Broken Invasive Plants and Animals Strategy (IPAS) includes a weed identification booklet that serves as a field guide for both land and water growing weeds. Visit the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority for more information.

Bridal Creeper

bridal creeper flower.jpg Identification bridal creeper.jpg

Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) is easily identifiable, even during its non-flowering season, by its vine-like habit and leaf shape.

It has light green, almost heart-shaped leaves with pointed ends, white flowers and red pea sized berries.

Except in the wettest areas, it dies off over summer and shoots again in autumn. It has a large underground tuber mass of which any one tuber can grow into a new plant.

Flowering time: August-September

Problem

One of 20 weeds of national significance, Bridal Creeper is considered a serious problem because of its ability to invade undisturbed bushland. Agriculturally it is a particular problem within citrus orchards. It is spread largely by fruit-feeding birds that eat the berries.

Weed management techniques

Herbicide has been used to control Bridal Creeper quite successfully. Always seek professional advice on appropriate herbicides and their use, read and follow instructions given on the product label carefully.

Hand weeding of small infestations in gardens is difficult because of the underground tubers, which can break off in the soil as weeding is occurring. However, if done carefully, and the area is monitored for new plants, it is a successful way of eradication. Due to the tubers ability to re-grow easily, always dispose of carefully through the municipal rubbish collection by enclosing in a thick plastic bag.

Several forms of biological control have been introduced into Australia, including a rust, leafhopper and leaf beetle. These are only suitable for heavily infested areas and require translocation of agents to work.

For more information, visit Agriculture Victoria

 

Horsetails (Equisetum species)

Image of Horsetail FoliageImage of Horsetail stem Identification

Horsetails occur in cold to warm temperate regions with annual rainfall between 100mm and 2000mm. Most species inhabit swampy areas and prefer disturbed sites. There are many species of Horsetail that are potential problems in Australia, they all differ slightly and are hard to identify to a species level.

At the genus level identification is easier, horsetails produce two different shoots. One is sterile, green, hollow and branched and the other is fertile, pale brown, unbranched and produces fruiting cones and dies back to the ground each year. Both kinds of shoots break off easily and feel rough due to the high silica (sand) content within them Problem Horsetails have only been found on a few occasions within Victoria, however, once established they are very difficult to eradicate.

Any suspected or identified horsetail plants should be immediately reported to the State Government. Don’t attempt to control Horsetails on your own.

Visit Agriculture Victoria for more information on how to report Horsetails.

 

Stinkwort

Image of Stinkwort bush Image of Stinkwort close up Identification

Stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens) can grow to heights of up to one metre.The entire plant is covered in fine white hairs, is sticky and smells very strongly of camphor. Flowers are small and yellow.

Flowering Time: Autumn

Problem

Unlikely to become a serious weed in native bush however it may become invasive within pastures as stock will not preferentially graze it, due to its toxicity. Stinkwort is often a weed of unsealed roadside shoulders. Spread is by seed on the wind or attachment to clothing, machinery or wool.

Weed management techniques

Small infestations can be chipped out prior to seeding or spot sprayed if necessary. If spraying always seek professional advice, read and follow instructions given on the product label carefully.

Note: Some people are allergic to the oil in the plant and may develop severe dermatitis on contact. Gloves should be worn when handling Stinkwort as a precaution.

 

Sweet Briar

Image of Sweet Briar (Rosa Rubiginosa)

Identification

Sweet Briar (Rosa rubiginosa) is a medium to large shrub that grows up to three metres tall. It is often scrambling, with pink flowers and fruits coloured initially green, then turning yellow before drying to a red or nearly black colour. It has prickly stems and leaves with toothed edges that smell like apples when bruised. Sweet Briar is winter deciduous.

Flowering time: November-January

Problem

Sweet Briar is primarily a problem in disturbed landscapes, such as farmland and roadsides. Heavy infestations can be an impediment to stock and harbour noxious pests such as foxes and rabbits.

Weed management technique

Spray with an approved herbicide or alternatively it can be dug out. If digging plants out then all crown and heavy rootstock must be removed to effectively kill the plant and stop suckering from occurring.

If spraying always seek professional advice, read and follow instructions given on the product label carefully.

Chilean Needle Grass

Image of chilean needle grass Image of chilean needle grass up close Identification

Chilean Needle Grass (Nassella neesiana) is a tussock-forming grass, native to South America. Chilean Needle Grass is often mistaken for other grasses such as tall fescue and wallaby grasses, but especially spear grasses. In spring, it produces purple glumes and light green awns that make it easier to identify.

Flowering time

It is easiest to identify Chilean Needle Grass in the spring, when it produces purple glumes and long light green awns.

Problem

Chilean Needle Grass is classified as a Weed of National Significance in Australia. It is highly invasive and is a threat to agricultural, natural and urban environments. In particular, the presence of Chilean needle grass has a devastating impact on agriculture. It can severely reduce pasture productivity and contaminate crops and hay. The needle-like seed can injure animals. Sheep, alpacas and dogs are vulnerable as seeds burrow into their skin and aren’t easy to remove.

Weed management technique

We work closely with our local community Landcare network, Gecko CLaN, on a project to control Chilean Needle Grass through roadside spraying.

If you see Chilean Needle Grass, please call the Customer Service Centre with the location so that we can treat the area. 

For more information about Chilean Needle Grass, visit the Gecko CLaN page or go to Agriculture Victoria’s website.