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Perfect conditions for African lovegrass

News release
22 March 2022

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board has continued control activities during the summer months focusing on the declared weed African lovegrass along roadsides and highway verges throughout the region.

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board District Officer Jamie Courtney said we have been controlling known African lovegrass infestations for the past few years, continually monitoring and inspecting roadsides throughout the Riverland.

"The recent weather conditions have been perfect for this summer growing high seed-producing grass. We are now seeing a high increase in germination and growth," Mr Courtney said.

"Dense unrecorded infestations have been found while undertaking control work along the Sturt Highway between Paringa and the Victorian Border, Ral Ral Avenue in Renmark, and along the Goyder Highway near Barmera, Taylorville and the western side of Morgan.

"While weather conditions have been favourable for weed growth, they have been unfavourable for weed control, which means that suitable spot spraying days have been limited.

"Spraying with the right weather conditions is vital to increase the target weeds' ability to absorb the herbicide. It also eliminates the risk of spray drift on non-target species," he said.

"We would like to thank our community members who have already contacted us requesting assistance. We have helped identify the declared weed and suggested suitable control options available for their circumstances.

“I would encourage landholders to get in touch with their local District Officer so we can work together to monitor and control African lovegrass.

Mr Courtney said we have installed African lovegrass control site signs in areas of high densities, which may help people identify the pest grass.

“Together with local councils and the Department for infrastructure and Transport (DIT), we monitor and control this pest grass to stop it from spreading into parks, gardens, and adjoining productive land.

To prevent the seed spread, thoroughly brush down equipment, people (boots etc.), machinery and vehicles when leaving an infested area.

There are hygiene practices that can help prevent the spread of African lovegrass:

  • avoid working in infested areas (except for control work)
  • undertake control work before seed set
  • do not remove seeds/plants from infested areas
  • decontaminate stock before moving
  • do not buy/sell contaminated fodder.

The pest grass germinates easily on disturbed soil such as the edges of roadsides, where it can benefit from the extra water run-off.

Roadsides and railway corridors are easy targets for this pest as the seed attaches freely to vehicles, trucks and trains.

The pest grass is unpalatable to stock, displacing productive plants in pastures. It threatens grazing properties as it prevents native grasses from germinating.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board have erected signage at African lovegrass control locations, alerting motorists and nearby residents of the presence of this pest grass.

If you think you may have seen African lovegrass, please contact the Riverland District Team at the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, Berri, on phone: 8580 1800.

The District program is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the landscape levies.

Perfect conditions for African lovegrass
With the wet summer and nearly perfect conditions, infestations of the declared weed African lovegrass have increased across the Riverland.