Non chemical methods of controling serrated tussock

Integrated weed management using a variety of control methods is critical for the long term success of your serrated tussock program. 

The following non-chemical control techniques can all play a role in controling serrated tussock, the level to which will depend on your particular circumstances.  The most successful programs use a variety of control methods and are well planned.  Remember to consult your agronomist or Weeds Officer to determine the best plan for you.

Also remember approaching weed control as part of your whole farm management and in conjunction with neighbours, landcare groups and natural resource groups such as Catchment Management Authorities is an important part of getting ahead.

Manual removal

Chipping or hoeing physically removes the serrated tussock plant from the ground.  It is a great method wher infestation are scattered or light.

Once removed shake soil from the roots to remove any remaining soil exposing the roots and allowing them to dry out.

If the plant is in flower, bag the whole plant, remove it from the paddock and burrn it.

Remember follow up treatments to remove any regrowth.


  • Completely removes and kills plants
  • Low soil disturbance
  • Control without using chemicals
  • Can be carried out while doing daily property activities - always carry a maddock or hoe on the bike or in the vehicle.


  • Uprooted plants may survive if moist soil if left around the roots
  • Labour intesnsive

Grazing management

Good grazing management is necessary to maintain pasture coverand density to effectively compete with serrated tussock.

Grazing management alone will not eradicate your tussock but  it is essential in the integrate management of serrated tussock.  Always monitor pastures for serrated tussock seedlings and follow up with spot spraying or chipping.

Research has shown that the type of animals grazed is not of concern; the importance is managing the pasture and ground cover.  Rotational grazing is a tool that will help achieve a highly productive and competitive pasture.

Focus management on continually improving the quality of pasture by promoting the growth of desirable species that will minimise serrated tussock invasion.


  • Rotational grazing may increase the productivity for a pasture in the long term and improve returns compared to set stocking
  • Having a healthy vigorous pasture is more likely to withstand invasion from serrated tussock and other weeds


  • May require additional labour
  • May need to increase infrustructure, such as fencing and watering points, to gain maximum benefit


Cultivation on its own is a short term method to control serrated tussock and reduce the seed bank on arable land.

For long term control, sow cultivated areas to vigorous pastures.  Always monitor pastures for serrated tussock seedlings and follow up with spot spraying or chipping.


  • Continued cultivation kills serrated tussock plants
  • Cropping rotations provide strong competition with emerging serrated tussock seedlings
  • Reduces the serrated tussock seed bank


  • Disturbance of the soil caused by cultivation will result in a mass germination of serrated tussock
  • Cropping requires high labour and cost inputs, particularly if changing land use from solely grazing
  • Re-invasion may come from rocks are areas not cultivated
  • Cultivation areas still need to be spot treated along fence lines and areas not able to be cultivated



Only use fire in combination with other methods.

A hot serrated tussock fire will not kill adult plants, but it will remove the biomass and destroy about 25% of the serrated tussock seed bank.

Burnt serrated tussock plants may regrow and the fire stimulates the mass germination of serrated tussock seeds.

Always carry out a vigorous follow up control program to remove seedlings.


  • Rejuvenates native grasslands to maintain diversity and healthy growth
  • May reduce serrated tussock seed bank
  • May postpone serrated tussock frm seeding for the current season


  • Serrated tussock can regrow vigorously following fire and may produce more seed in the following flowering season
  • The seed bank of desirable native species may be too low to successfully compete with serrated tussock following a fire
  • Adult serrated tussock populations are a fire risk and should only be burnt with extreme care and caution
  • may leave large bare patches of ground


Mulching prevents weed growth by smothering all vegetation.  material such as straw, wood chippings, plastic sheeting or carpet can be used.

To be effective, re-vegetate desirable species into the mulch layer.

Mulching is suitable for light or isolated infestations in urban areas, organic farming situations or where infestations are in environmental areas where rehabilitation is needed.



  • Does not require chemical application
  • Does not disturb the soil


  • Not suitable for large scale infestations
  • Non-selective
  • Can be expensive
  • Labour intensive

Source: Serrated Tussock - national best practice manual