29 Sep 2015
Posted by: Russell Firth

Chilean Needle Grass is a weed of national significance due to its highly invasive nature, potential for spread and the problems it causes for both the Australian economy and environment. Invading both bushlands and pasture areas, Chilean Needle Grass in unpalatable to grazing livestock and significantly reduces the productivity of the pasture by as much as 50% where heavy infestations are present.

Capable of displacing native grasses, Chilean Needle Grass also produces long, sharp seeds and serrated leaves that can injure passing livestock.

A perennial tussock forming grass, Chilean Needle Grass is capable of growing to heights of 1 metre, with sharp, serrated leaves that are rough to the touch and purple coloured flowers that produce seeds. The plant also produces a second form of seeds that are produced in the bases of the flowering stems and are self-fertilising, which accounts for over 25% of total seed production. Hardy, drought and fire tolerant, once infestations begin to appear Chilean Needle Grass can become dense and difficult to control.

Producing up to 20,000 seeds per square metre, Chilean Needle Grass can build up an extensive seedbank in the soil that can remain dormant for many years. By cultivating areas where Chilean Needle Grass is present, the weed is spread even further as the earth is disturbed and the seeds carried further afield by machinery. Therefore, it is essential to effectively wash down any vehicles or machinery that have been working in or near areas where the weed is present.

The Spray Marshal Plus+ multi-purpose unit is the ideal solution to wash down needs, as it comes complete with a genuine Honda GX35 4 stroke motor for proven reliability coupled to the Rapid Commando pump delivering 12 litre/minute maximum flow & 25 Bar (360psi) pressure – ideal for dislodging seeds and plant material. This compact unit is available in both 200 and 400 litre tanks sizes and comes complete with easy-grip handles built into the spray tank make lifting & moving the unit from vehicle to vehicle quick and easy. Click here to find out more about the Spray Marshal Plus+ multi-purpose unit.

Controlling Chilean Needle Grass requires a great deal of work and persistence, therefore it is advised that landowners to try and reduce the spread of seeds where possible. Currently, there are no herbicides registered for Chilean needle grass control in Australia however the use of herbicide is allowed in New South Wales with a permit.

Contact your local weeds official who will be able to advise the best type of herbicide to use when tackling Chilean Needle Grass infestations and the best times to apply the chemical.

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