Boneseed Control Guide

Boneseed - flowers and fruit

Do's and Don'ts of Boneseed control


  • Plan your control program, this will save time and money in the long-run.
  • Use hand-pulling for younger plants.
  • Consider burning for large infestations: follow-up treatment of seedling re-growth is essential.
  • Before burning, seek advice from the Tasmanian Fire Service. Where native vegetation may be impacted by fire seek advice from DPIPWE.
  • For large infestations, start with small outlying infestations to reduce spread of the plant, then work inwards.
  • Re-vegetate cleared areas with native plants to reduce the chance of re-infestation.


  • Don't start your control program without first planning your approach.
  • Don't rely on slashing: plants regrow strongly from the cut stumps unless they are treated with herbicide.
  • Never burn boneseed without follow up treatment of regrowth.

Spread of boneseed

  • Boneseed is spread by birds and animals which eat the fruit, digest the fleshy part and then pass the seed unharmed through the digestive system. Ants can also carry the fruits to their nests where they eat the flesh and discard the seeds.
  • Boneseed fruits and seed are also spread in moving water.
  • Seed can be spread in gravel or topsoil collected from areas infested with boneseed. The inappropriate dumping of seeding plants after removal can also lead to spread of the weed.
  • 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 boneseed.

Physical removal

  • Slashing or mowing will not eradicate boneseed. Plants regrow strongly from the cut stumps unless they are treated with herbicide.
  • Boneseed plants have a relatively shallow root system. Seedlings and young plants can be readily pulled by hand; however larger plants require a tractor or similar equipment.
  • When bushes are pulled out, the ground disturbance may stimulate seed germination, making the boneseed problem worse. Follow-up treatment including pulling of seedlings or herbicide treatment is essential.
  • For low to medium boneseed density, handpull small plants and treat larger plants by cut-stump herbicide treatment. This minimises soil disturbance and damage to native vegetation.


  • Fire can be used to control dense infestations of boneseed. Burning kills seedlings and most mature plants and stimulates the germination of the seed in the soil. Regrowth seedlings can then be treated by pulling or with herbicide.
  • Use fire carefully. Consider burning only where the boneseed infestation is very dense and few native species are present. Avoid burning adjacent bushland.

Chemical control

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