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Don’t look past, control your grass

News release
27 April 2017

Summer is over and while we saw glimpses of beautiful, sunny EP days, we also saw a lot of summer rain. It is an unusual time of year to be seeing lush, green lawns, vibrant colourful gardens & rainwater tanks full to the brim. All nice things, but summer rain also brings forth the conditions for a number of invasive grasses to thrive in.

Fountain Grass(Pennisetum setaceum) is fast becoming a problem on the Eyre Peninsula. The grass is native to Africa and was brought to Australia as a "Garden Ornamental". Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula are encouraging people to keep an eye out for this grass as fast action will help prevent it becoming a major environmental problem. Natural Resources Officer Ben Tucker said, "that the grass is easily identifiable at this time of year".

"Fountain grass grows in dense tufts to a height of 30-90cm's. The characteristic feature is its spikey, bottle brush like flower head that grows 10-25cm long. It is feathery in appearance and the colour will vary from a pale pinkie-white to purplish" Mr Tucker said.

"This invasive grass presents a real threat to our local environment due to its ability to out compete and supress native vegetation. Once established the seeds spread rapidly and far, dispersed mainly by wind"

He said removing fountain grass from your local garden would go a long way in reducing its spread across the landscape.

"There are a few methods of removal and often a combination can be the most successful option. These methods include physical removal, chemical application, slashing and burning. It is important that the plant is actively growing when herbicide is applied in order to have success. Burning or slashing the plant prior to your herbicide application can encourage this fresh growth and greatly increase your chances of controlling the plant"

"A native alternative that I would recommend is Poa (poa poiformis) grass. It's a very hardy, native ornamental grass that will attract butterflies and bird life to your garden. It's green to greyish in colour and prefers a position in full sun to grow making it an attractive replacement for your fountain grass"

In 2015 Fountain grass became a declared weed under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004. This means that it is now illegal to transport or sell this plant and all property owners have a responsibility to control Fountain grass on their property and also on the adjacent roadside. This includes both rural and residential properties.

Image gallery

More information

Communications and Engagement Officer

(08) 8688 3111

dewnr.nrepadmin@sa.gov.au