Tumbleweed Control Guide

Do's and Don'ts of tumbleweed control

Tumbleweed

Do's

  • Plan your control program, this will save time and money in the long-run;
  • Consider the impact of your control methods on off-target species, especially if herbicides are used;
  • Ensure machinery and equipment is washed down between sites or prior to contractors leaving site;
  • Get in early - For new infestations, eradicate before the plants reach the flowering stage: once plants begin seeding, control becomes more difficult and expensive;
  • Carefully time your use of herbicide for best results (see the Herbicides for Tumbleweed Control link for more information);
  • Coordinate your control program with neighbouring landholders where your weed problem crosses property boundaries;
  • Revisit and regularly inspect the site and ensure follow-up is undertaken;
  • Use a combination of different control methods; and
  • Establish vigorous pasture or crops after removal to reduce re-infestation.

Don'ts

  • Don't introduce tumbleweed to tumbleweed-free areas (e.g. by failing to wash down machinery and equipment between sites);
  • Don't start your control program without first planning your approach;
  • Don't allow tumbleweed to flower and set seed before treatment;
  • Don't rely on one attempt at removal - follow-up is essential; and
  • Don't rely on just one control method.


Spread of tumbleweed

  • Tumbleweed is spread by seed.
  • Tumbleweed seeds can be scattered over large distances as the dried bush is blown along the ground. Seed can also be spread by birds, contaminated machinery and farm produce.
  • Seed remains viable after ingestion by animals, and can survive high composting temperatures.
  • The seeds are thought to remain viable in the soil for many years, giving rise to a persistent seed bank.


Avoid the introduction of tumbleweed

  • Avoid introducing tumbleweed seed into clean areas, or into areas from which the weed is being eradicated.
  • Implements and vehicles which have been used on infested areas should be thoroughly cleaned before leaving the site.
  • See the Washdown Guidelines for Weed and Disease Control for detailed information on how to wash-down equipment and personnel to reduce the chance of spreading tumbleweed.


Physical removal

  • Areas cleared of tumbleweed should, if possible, be cultivated for pasture or crops.
  • Cultivation of the soil breaks up any tumbleweed roots remaining in the soil and brings root fragments to the surface to dry out.
  • Establishment of vigorous pasture or a crop provides competition with any regrowth of tumbleweed plants and reduces the chance of re-infestation.


Chemical control

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