African Boxthorn Control Guide

Do's and Don'ts of African boxthorn control


  • Hand-pull or dig up small bushes, and use machinery to remove larger bushes;
  • Re-visit the site for follow-up removal of any regrowth;
  • Cultivate the site and re-sow to pasture or crop to help prevent African boxthorn from re-establishing.


  • Don't rely on one go at removal; follow-up treatment is essential to avoid re-infestation.

Spread of African boxthorn

  • Reproduction is mainly from seed. Birds eat the fruits and can spread the seed long distances from the parent plant. Seed can also be spread in mud or soil on machinery.
  • African boxthorn can also grow from root fragments left in the soil.
  • 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 African boxthorn.

Physical removal

  • Large plants can be removed using heavy machinery. Uprooted plants should be destroyed as they can provide shelter for vermin and the spines can still cause injury.
  • Small plants can be hand-pulled or dug up.
  • After removal, the area should be monitored for regrowth from root fragments left in the soil, and for germinating seedlings.


  • Areas cleared of African boxthorn should, if possible, be cultivated for pasture or crops.
  • Cultivation of the soil breaks up any African boxthorn 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 African boxthorn plants and reduces the chance of re-infestation.

Chemical control

  • A number of herbicides are registered for use on African boxthorn in Tasmania. See Herbicides for African Boxthorn Control for more information.
  • After herbicide treatment, African boxthorn often loses its leaves and appears to have died, but then produces new foliage.
  • These regenerating bushes need to be re-treated with herbicide. This should be done when a significant amount of regrowth has occurred, allowing adequate uptake of the herbicide.
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