Time to tussle with tussock
3 October 2016
Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officers will be out roaming the paddocks looking for serrated tussock, (most likely in their gumboots); given the rain our districts have recently received.
Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officer Greg Wood said serrated tussock is a regionally prohibited weed in the Goulburn Broken catchment.
"Known infestations around Broadford and Kilmore are present but remain limited, with most properties having only a small number of plants.
"Serrated tussock is highly invasive and unpalatable to stock, so it has the potential to dramatically reduce stock carrying capacity, and it also has the added impact of being a significant threat to environmental assets."
Mr Wood said officers will be inspecting known sites to encourage landowners to treat any plants before they set seed later in the year.
"We are fortunate that serrated tussock is currently manageable in this catchment, but the challenge for us is to ensure that it doesn't become well established," he said.
"Old, mature serrated tussock grows up to 50 centimetres tall, about the height of your gumboots, but the majority of the plants we find aren't particularly old and will be much smaller in size."
He said serrated tussock can be distinguished from its native look-a-likes by its very fine and needle-like leaves.
Mr Wood said that when rolled between the thumb and finger, the leaves roll smoothly, unlike many native tussock species that feel as though they have a slight flat edge when rolled.
"It should be noted that when serrated tussock leaves are drawn through the fingers, serrations can only be felt in the downward direction.
"At this time of year, the leaves can appear somewhat bleached at the top from the cold weather, with plants generally begin to flower with the onset of warmer weather in mid to late spring."
"The seed stem is open, multi-branched and up to 35 centimetres long, with purple seeds that turn a golden brown when mature.
"Landowners play a vital role in the program by treating any infestations found on their land, however the broader community can also assist by putting their gumboots on and going for a walk in the garden or paddock," he said.
If you suspect you've found an infestation of serrated tussock or would like further information, please visit our website: http://go.vic.gov.au/aKyGYL or call 136 186.
Categorised under: Biosecurity