Chilean Needle Grass Control Guide


Potted plants - Chilean needle grass, photo: Christian Goninon

Spread of Chilean needle grass

  • Chilean needle grass panicle seed is large and heavy and will not travel very far in the wind, maybe only a few metres.
  • Seed spread is facilitated by the long, twisting awn and the sharply pointed seed head which together allow the seed to penetrate and 'burrow' into animal coats, fleece and clothing.
  • Chilean needle grass seed can also be carried in mud on the hooves of livestock, machinery and implements, on vehicle tyres, in contaminated hay and on firewood.
  • Chilean needle grass panicle seed can be dispersed by water along creeks and drainage channels.


Avoid the introduction of Chilean needle grass

  • Preventing the invasion of Chilean needle grass is the cheapest and most effective means of control.
  • Learn to identify Chilean needle grass, regularly check for it and act immediately to remove it.
  • Regularly monitor known Chilean needle grass infested areas.
  • Appropriately dispose of any panicle seed collected.
  • Encourage the growth of competition in infested areas.
  • If possible avoid working in an area infested with Chilean needle grass until it has been controlled.
  • 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 Chilean needle grass.


Control options

  • Before undertaking control works confirm that the species you intend to control is in fact Chilean needle grass as the plant you are dealing with may be a native Tasmanian grass.
  • The following information is for the control of small populations of Chilean needle grass in urban environments including roadside reserves and native grassland situations.
  • For identification and advice on the control of populations in pasture situations or larger infestations contact a Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550.

Physical removal

  • Small infestations and isolated Chilean needle grass plants can be chipped out with a mattock preferably before the plants set seed. Ensure that the base of the plant and as much of the root as possible is removed.
  • Do not chip out large patches of Chilean needle grass where a seed bank has built up: any soil disturbance will cause the germination of seeds.

Chemical control


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