Paspalum

(Paspalum dilatatum)
Paspalum (stem and leaf blade), photo: Ann Dennis 2002

What is paspalum?

  • Paspalum is a troublesome weed of garden lawns, roadsides, orchards and similar areas.

How to identify paspalum

  • Paspalum is a tufted perennial (long-lived) grass that normally grows up to 150 cm tall. However, in mown situations, the plant can be prostrate (growing close to the ground) with only the flowering heads produced above mowing height.
  • For help in identifying paspalum, search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora Database for paspalum illustrations If you are still in doubt about the weed you are dealing with, contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 for help.
Paspalum flowers, photo: Ann Dennis, 2002 Paspalum, photo: Steven Thorsted 2006
Image top: Paspalum stem and leaf blade, © Ann Dennis.
Image above left: Paspalum flowers, © Ann Dennis.
Image above right: Paspalum, © Steven Thorsted.


Paspalum in Tasmania

  • Paspalum is not declared in Tasmania.
  • Paspalum is common in pastures, roadsides, orchards, gardens and lawns in Tasmania.
  • Paspalum grows vigorously in areas receiving high moisture during summer, including irrigated areas such as turf, orchards, garden lawns, plantations, vineyards and roadsides. Paspalum commonly establishes in roadside drains where it gets sufficient moisture from road runoff.
  • In orchards and similar areas, paspalum competes with trees for water and soil nutrients. Paspalum can form thick stands, interfering with harvesting and providing shelter for vermin.
  • Paspalum is of limited use as a pasture species in Tasmania. In most areas it is dormant from mid autumn to late winter and requires high temperatures, irrigation and high soil nitrogen levels for satisfactory productivity. Where these conditions exist, other pasture species are generally preferred.
Detailed management and control guidelines for paspalum can be found in the Paspalum Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Paspalum Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.


See also
Herbicides for Paspalum Control
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie

Paspalum Control Guide

Do

  • 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 page Herbicides for Paspalum 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

  • Don't introduce paspalum to paspalum-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 paspalum to flower and set seed before treatment;
  • Don't rely on one attempt at removal - follow-up is essential;
  • Don't rely on just one control method.

Spread of paspalum

  • Paspalum spreads by seed. The seed is sticky and is readily transported on shoes, clothing and machinery.
  • Paspalum can readily spread form roadsides into adjacent orchards.

Avoid the introduction of paspalum

  • Hygiene practices involving the thorough cleaning of machinery and footwear after working in paspalum infested areas is critical to minimise spread.
  • 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 paspalum.

Physical removal

  • Paspalum can be removed by hand; use a mattock to remove all of the crown and prevent regrowth where plants are well established.
  • Mowing and slashing will remove flowering heads but will not provide control of established plants. Seed may be spread by mowing and slashing implements.
  • In turf, resow with desirable grass species after the removal of the paspalum.

Cultivation

  • Cultivation can be used to control paspalum; ensure that the paspalum clumps are thoroughly broken up, leaving the small fragments to dry out on the soil surface.

Chemical control

  • A number of herbicides are registered for use on paspalum in Tasmania. See Herbicides for Paspalum Control for more information.
  • Paspalum should be treated when actively growing (late spring to early autumn).
  • Repeat herbicide application may be required for well established plants.

Herbicides for Paspalum Control

Herbicides for Paspalum Control


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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