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Khaki weed not so painless

News release
16 November 2021

With the weather warming up and the recent rains, landholders across the Murraylands and Riverland region are encouraged to be on the lookout and control summer active weeds such as the spiteful khaki weed (Alternanthera pungens).

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board District Officer Brenten Miller is warning landholders to be wary of prickly summer weeds that are starting to pop up around the district.

“We are fortunate as khaki weed is not yet wide spread in the Riverland. This is our opportunity to prevent another weed becoming established in our region,” he said.

“The majority of known sites are located in the Renmark and Renmark West area. These are monitored by the district team who follow up with landholders to ensure early weed control.

“We have had great support from the Renmark Paringa Council works staff who are also keeping an eye out for new infestations.

Left unchecked and with the ideal weather conditions, this nasty weed may be starting to rear its prickly head and can cause significant damage.

Mr Miller said the best way to beat the weed is to commence control now, while it is actively growing before it flowers and before the pickles appear.

The small prickle burrs turn golden coloured as the plant matures, and cover the weed, easily injuring people or animals.

It can contaminate crops and degrade wool, getting stuck and transported on shoes, clothes, animal fur, machinery and vehicle tyres.

Khaki weed not so painless
Declared plant khaki weed

Khaki weed is a small thick ground cover that can spread into a dense mat. It has reddish stems and green, oval-shaped leaves.

The straw-coloured burrs are about 1 cm long and can remain viable in the ground for many years. Plants have a thick deep tap root that helps them survive for long periods and can make control difficult.

Mainly impacted by the prickly weed are high traffic disturbed areas such as the headlands between irrigated blocks and roadsides, grasslands, pastures, lawns, grassed areas and nature strips.

Mr Miller is asking landholders and the community to be on weed watch and contact the Berri office about any plants they suspect may be khaki weed.

The district team are here to assist landholders with identification and developing a control plan.

Mr Miller said the burr makes it easy for the weed to spread, so early detection and action is vital to ensure we keep our region and state khaki weed-free.

For advice on identification and assistance with control options, landholders and community are encouraged to contact their local Murraylands and Riverland Landscape and National Parks office Berri phone: 8580 1800.

Or visit the Biosecurity SA websiteand refer to the weed control handbook.

Khaki weed is a notifiable plant and is declared for destruction across South Australia, meaning that any suspected infestations are reported to authorities.

Originally from South America, khaki weed is a declared weed in South Australia under the Landscape South Australia 2019 Act.

This project is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the landscape levies.