Horehound Control Guide

Flowering Horehound  


  • 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; and
  • Carefully time your use of herbicide for best results (see Herbicides for Horehound Control 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 native species) after removal to reduce re-infestation.


  • Don't introduce horehound to horehound-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 horehound 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 horehound

  • Horehound is spread by seed. Seed is spread by stock, as the fruit or burr readily attaches to wool and fur. Seed can also be spread in horse faeces, and in water.

Physical removal

  • Small infestations can be controlled by grubbing plants.
  • For dense infestations, the area should be burnt (to stimulate seed germination) and then ploughed to bury the plants. Alternatively un-rooted plants can be removed completely as partially buried plants can continue to grow.
  • Summer cultivation is preferred because the disturbed plants are readily killed by the heat of the sun.
  • Repeated cultivation is necessary to up-root any new horehound growth, followed by sowing to crop or pasture.
  • Use a strongly competitive grass/clover mixture. In areas subject to drought or severe attack by pasture insects, either phalaris or cocksfoot should be included.
  • Spotspray any surviving horehound in the new crop or pasture.
  • New pasture should not be grazed in its first year to give maximum competition with horehound seedlings. Rabbits should also be controlled on the treated areas.
  • Non-arable areas, such as stony ridges or sheep camps can be hand sown or sown through a fertiliser spreader after herbicide application.
  • Planting trees is another option where it is difficult to establish pasture.


  • Burn dense infestations to stimulate seed germination before cultivation.


  • Horehound infestations in pasture respond differently to different grazing pressures.
  • Heavy sheep grazing (block grazing) can eliminate horehound seedlings.
  • Less intense grazing pressures can favour horehound by allowing stock to graze desirable species and avoid the less palatable weed.

Biological control

  • Biological control is the use of a living species, usually an insect, mite or disease, to control a weed;
  • Biological control will not eradicate horehound, but can be used in conjunction with other control methods;
  • Biological control agents that have been released in Tasmania include the horehound plume moth.
  • For more information on biological control programs in Tasmania contact the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

Chemical control

  • A number of herbicides are registered for use on horehounds in Tasmania. See Herbicides for Horehound Control for more information.
  • For best results, apply herbicides when the plants are actively growing (usually spring and autumn). Poor results will result if horehound plants are suffering moisture stress at the time of application.
  • Spring spraying will reduce the formation of flowers and seed, reducing the soil seed bank and fleece contamination.
  • Horehound shows herbicide symptoms relatively slowly; it can take between 6 and 20 weeks for symptoms to develop.
  • All herbicides require the addition of a surfactant as the hairy leaf of the plant is difficult to wet.

    Important Disclaimer
    To the extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.

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