Spanish Heath(Erica lusitanica) is a spreading shrub that is very successful at sneakily spreading along our local roadsides and invading our bushland. It has a number of attributes that make it a very successful weed, it is able to spread by suckers as well as seed. It produces a prolific amount of seed with studies showing that a single plants can produce 9 million small dust like seeds annually (Blood 2001).
Spreading unchecked along a highway roadside.
Large infestation that has spread over an embankment.
Once sold as a cut-flower now it is invading native bushland and roadsides
Close up of small pink and white flowers
A large plant like this can produced millions of seeds a year.
The main reason it is able to prosper is that it is often mistaken for a native species, its foliage and growth habit have similarities to species such as Common Heath (Epacris impressa) which is Victoria’s floral emblem. If in doubt about whether or not the plant is Spanish Heath, you can contact the Local Shire or Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) for assistance. (Or submit a photo to this site).
Spanish Heath can be controlled by hand pulling plants, especially seedlings, although to avoid re-growth by suckering, it is important to remove all of the roots. Alternatively larger plants can be cut off at the base and treated with a herbicide (e.g. Glyphosate) as per the instructions on the label. Although there is no chemical registered in Victoria larger infestations can also be carefully sprayed “off label: using a suitable non-restricted herbicide (see your chemical supplier for recommendations).
Avoid slashing the heath as this will most likely encourage suckering and growth of the plant and possibly help spread the seeds. Be careful to dispose carefully of any Spanish Heath that has been removed, to avoid it spreading to new sites.
Pampas grass (Cortaderia species) is as distinctive grass that has escaped from gardens and other plantings and become a major threat to native vegetation. Once established, the plant is very competitive, restricting the establishment of native trees, and can become a fire hazard and harbour vermin. Pampas grass is of greatest potential weed significance to forestry operations. Pampas grass is not considered an agricultural weed, because young plants are readily grazed by stock and it shows no ability to establish in cropping systems.
Individual plants have the ability to produce vast quantities of windborne seed – up to 100,000 per flower head – which can infest areas within a 25 km radius. In many cases, garden plants are the seed source for infestations.
The method of control for pampas grass depends on the site on which it occurs and the potential risk for causing new infestations. Permanent mechanical removal is recommended wherever possible. Grubbing of plants, particularly when small, is the best method of control in urban and bushland areas. This can be difficult with large plants because of their extensive root system and the abrasive nature of the leaves.
Control of large plants is easier and more effective if any seed heads are removed first and the plant is slashed before grubbing the crown and roots. Seed heads should be placed in a plastic bag and destroyed in an appropriate way. The best conditions for grubbing are when the soil is moist so removal is easier. The crown and roots must be completely removed from contact with the soil. Suitable disposal methods for plant material are necessary to prevent re-establishment.
Use of herbicides (low-risk areas) Only a registered herbicide used according to the direction on the label should be used to control a weed.
Smaller plants (less than 40 cm) can be controlled using a wiper applicator with the recommended herbicide. For larger plants, slash the plant to reduce the foliage, taking care to dispose of any plant material in the appropriate way to prevent re-establishment, and then spray with the recommended herbicide. Alternatively, the plant can be burnt (if local conditions allow), allowed to recover, and any new growth sprayed with the recommended herbicide. Do not spray plants stressed by drought or frost, and ensure there is thorough wetting of larger plants with the herbicide. Follow-up treatment may be required if regrowth occurs. (Source NSW DPI)