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A grass looking for control

News release
07 December 2020

Posted 07 December 2020.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board need your help identifying possible infestations of the declared weed African lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) which is flowering now in the Riverland area.

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board District Officer Jamie Courtney said as you drive around you may notice many different types of grass taking advantage of the spring rain across the Riverland.

“If you look a little closer you may spot an undesirable innocent-looking grass trying to blend in,” Mr Courtney said.

“This could be African lovegrass which has been recently detected by District staff in Riverland areas such as; Alawoona, Lock 4, Waikerie and Pyap.

Native to South Africa, African lovegrass is a greyish-green tufted grass growing up to 1.2 metres in height, the leaf blades are rough to touch with curled tips.

Flowering in spring to summer the seed head has a purple to black colour.

The weed produces many tiny seeds which can be dispersed by hay bales, animals and on vehicles, it only germinates when the conditions are favourable.

In South Australia, African lovegrass usually prefers freshly disturbed sites such as; road verges and railway lines, and can quickly establish itself in over-grazed pastures.

African lovegrass is a weed that likes to occupy neglected areas and is highly invasive in heathlands, woodlands, forests, grasslands and riverine environments.

It is capable of dominating ground flora causing significant displacement of native species.

African lovegrass is highly persistent, dominant, and unpalatable to native animals and can have a minor negative impact on food sources for non-threatened fauna.

Mr Courtney said currently, the known African lovegrass infestations have either been treated or have upcoming control work planned.

African lovegrass is a notifiable plant and declared for destruction across South Australia under the Landscape South Australia 2019 Act. The board must report any suspected infestations that landholders or district staff are aware of or find to authorities.

The board is encouraging the community to please report any suspected African lovegrass sites to your local Murraylands and Riverland Landscape and National Parks office Berri phone: 8580 1800 or Murray Bridge: 8532 9100.

Or visit the Biosecurity SA website and refer to the weed control handbook for help with identification.

This project is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the Landscape levies.

More information

Media and Communications Project Officer