Council Tackles Chilean Needle Grass

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Last week the council announced that it was taking action to eradicate Chilean Needle Grass at the entry of Murrumbateman Recreation Grounds. But what exactly is Chilean Needle Grass, and why is it so problematic?

It appears the Grass was introduced to Australia in the 1930s and 1940s from South America where it occurs in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, southern Brazil and Chile.

The problem with Chilean Needle Grass is that it is very invasive and forms dense stands in pastures, bushland and roadsides. It tolerates drought and heavy grazing, giving it great potential to spread and over-run existing vegetation, so much so that the presence of Chilean needle grass may reduce land value. During the warmer months large amounts of unpalatable flower stalks are produced, which have very low digestibility and can cause wounds to livestock’s eyes, mouths and stomachs.

Yass Valley Council Senior Biosecurity Weeds Officer, Brett Lees, has been out spraying Chilean needle grass at the entry of Murrumbateman Recreation Grounds.

“People entering the rec grounds from the main entrance, off the Barton Highway, may begin to notice the grass starting to turn yellow and die off. This is because the Council has been treating Chilean needle grass and other invasive weeds present,” Mr Lees said.

“Most Chilean needle grass is already setting seed and in need of treatment. An established infestation of mature Chilean needle grass is a very difficult and lengthy process to manage.”

Council’s Biosecurity Officers have erected signage notifying the public of the weed threat and which herbicides have been applied. This is all part of a broader invasive weed control program that Council will be rolling out in the coming weeks. Initial control measures will target St John’s wort, blackberry and sweet briar.

If you have any questions regarding invasive weeds, Council’s Biosecurity Officers can be contacted on 02 6226 1477.

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