Battle against burr weeds to continue throughout summer
07 December 2021
Preventing burr weeds from taking root and multiplying this summer will require a concerted effort from landholders, according to Northern and Yorke Landscape Board Officer David Hughes.
Generous rainfall during spring has delivered ideal conditions for burr weeds like Caltrop, Innocent Weed and Khaki Weed to repeatedly germinate and set seed throughout the warmer months.
“Many landholders may have already found and sprayed the first germinations of burr weeds, but they should expect repeated germinations throughout summer,” said Mr Hughes.
“These weeds can set seed within two weeks of germinating, so it’s important not to turn a blind eye, as they can quickly spread throughout your property and even into neighbouring land.”
Burr weeds thrive on bare ground and are known to produce large quantities of seeds. One Innocent Weed plant can form 16 burrs, with each burr containing four seeds; a total of 64 seeds. While a single Caltrop plant can form 400 burrs, with each burr containing up to 20 seeds; a total of 8000 seeds.
Their spiny exterior also means that burrs are easily lodged in tyres, shoes and animals and then carried across the landscape.
“On farms and in vineyards, it’s important to decontaminate all equipment before leaving weedy spots,” said Mr Hughes. “Land managers who use motorbikes, ride-on mowers or slashers should also be on the lookout.”
Khaki Weed (Alternanthera pungens), which forms a dense mat over the ground surface, is a problem in recreational parks and commonly hitches a ride with travellers who camp in caravan parks and reserves. It also damages the feet and mouths of stock and degrades wool quality.
The Northern and Yorke Landscape Board encourages land managers to look out for and control any burr weeds on their property this summer. For weed identification or management advice, please speak to a Landscape Officer on 8841 3444.