Preventing serrated tussock invasions

Preventing the invasion of serrated tussock is the cheapest and most effective way of controlling it.

Learn to identify the weed, regularly check for it and act immediately to remove it.

Identification

Early identification of serrated tussock is essential if you want to prevent and control its establishment on your property.

Seed spread

The seeds of serrated tussock are mostly spread by wind, but can also be spread by machinery and vehicles; in hay and fodder; as a contaminant of wool and clothing; by water; mud and in the droppings of animals.

Wind

Once mature the entire seed head breaks away from the base of the tussock and blows along the ground and sometimes much higher with thermals.

While most of the seed remains relateively close to the adult plant (within 0.5km), seed heads are light and able to travel great distances (perhaps up to 20km).  Masses of seedheads can be captured by fences, trees, logs and other obstructions allowing new colonies of serrated tussock.

Vehicles and machinery

Serrated tussock seed heads can be caught in vehicles, machinery, tractors, implements, spray units, mowers and slashers.  Machinery and vehicle tyres will also pick up mud contaminated with seed. 

Activities such as slashing during the flowering period in a major method of seed spread and contanimation.  It is essential you inspect and clean machinery to reduce weed movement both within your property boundaries and when moving between locations.

Animals

Serrated tussock seed attaches to the fleece and fur of livestock and other animals, and may also be picked up in mud on the animals' hooves.

Livestock will generally avoid eating serrated tussock, however if they do graze it while in seed, the animals can spread the seed through their droppings.

The seed can survive in the gut of ruminant animals for up to 10 days making it possible for serrated tussock to be spread long distances by livestock.

If introducing livestock to your property from a known area of serrated tussock infestation ensure you quarantine animals to allow any ingested seed to pass through their system.  Also be aware of the possibility of seed contamination on fur and wool and take appropriate action.

Stock feed and produce

Serrated tussock seed can contaminate crops, hay silage, grain and seed.  Movement and use of contaminated produce can lead to the development of new infestations.  This risk increases during drought when lower quality hay, seed and grain is sold, bought and transported extensively across the country.

Weeds often accumulate in areas where things are stockpiled.  Be vigilant about the quality and source of produce you bring onto your property.  It is always wise to regularly inspect areas where hay, seed and grain has been introduced for new weed outbreaks.

Soil

As serrated tussock develops a substantial seed bank, any movement of soil from an infested area is likely to transport seed and crearte a new infestation.  Potential movement of seed can occur via activites such as road works, landscaping or building activities.  Be aware of the source of any soil movement on your property and the potential it has to cause significant problems.

Water

Rivers, creeks and water channels can transport serrated tussock seed downstream from the original infestation.  In particular flood waters are known to move seed downstream to new locations.  Regularly inspect your creeks and waterways for newly established weed outbreaks and act to eradicate them as soon as possible.

 

Source: "Serrated tussock - national best practice manual"

 

Preventing the spread of serrated tussock

  • Learn to identify serrated tussock, regularly check for it and act immediately to remove it.
  • Buy certified seed.
  • Avoid purchasing hay or stock from contaminated areas.
  • Stock grazed on serrated tussock should be placed in a holding paddock for 10 days before moving them to a clean paddock.
  • Desirable vegetation can be used as a barrier to effectively reduce wind dispersal of the seed.
  • Rabbit proof fencing can also help to catch tumbling serrated tussock seed heads.

"Weed management guide - serrated tussock"

CRC for Australian Weed Management