Get the jump on Serrated tussock

New England Weeds Authority will set up Serrated tussock identification sites throughout the area to increase the public’s ability to recognise the weed.
New England Weeds Authority will set up Serrated tussock identification sites throughout the area to increase the public’s ability to recognise the weed.

The warmth and the rain are certainly good for pasture growth, but it also means that without the proper control, weeds can easily get out of hand.

A problem weed for graziers around the region is Serrated tussock.

Serrated tussock is often described as Australia's worst agricultural weed as it reduces the productivity of grazing land more than any other weed according to New England Weeds Authority officer Russel Smith.

“Serrated tussock crowds out more useful pastures species and individual plants can live for more than 20 years,” he said.

“They are prolific seed producers, the seed can remain viable for 14 years and the seed heads can travel up to 50km on the wind. Stock will graze Serrated tussock when better feed is not available, however, the plant is largely indigestible and has almost no nutritional value.”

He recommends checking now for the weed.

“It has a soft lime green appearance at this time of year which helps it stand out among the native tussock grasses,” Mr Smith said.

“Serrated tussock has a fine leaf, about 0.5mm in diameter, and will roll smoothly between the index finger and thumb while native tussocks feel as though they have flat edges. The leaves also feel rough when you run your fingers downwards due to fine serrations.

“It will go to seed during November and December producing seed heads that drape over to form a purplish ‘horse’s mane’.”

New England Weeds Authority will set up Serrated tussock identification sites throughout the area to increase the public’s ability to recognise the weed.

“Keep a look out for our roadside signs which highlight that Serrated tussock is known to exist in the area,” Mr Smith said. “These signs also provide some information to assist with identification.”

Landowners who suspect they have an invasive weed on their property can contact their local weeds officer who can help you with identification and provide advice on a suitable management plan, by calling 6770 3602.