Giant Rat's Tail Grass
Sporobolus pyramidalis and S. natalensis
This is a robust, tufted, perennial grass that grows up to 1.8 metres. It looks very similar to Giant Parramatta grass, Parramatta grass, and American rat’s tail grass and can be difficult to tell apart.
Leaves are green, 4 to 8 millimetres wide and are tough and hairless.
Seed heads grows to 45 centimetres long and 3 centimetres wide. The shape varies from a rat’s tail to an elongated pyramid shape when flowering.
Habitat the grass adapts to a wide range of soils and conditions, including low rainfall areas.
Weed characteristics it is difficult to control and can become a fire hazard. The grass can affect cattle health and productivity including finishing times, weaning percentages and a reduction of weights. It can quickly dominate a pasture, especially following overgrazing or soil disturbance. It out-competes desirable pasture grasses and degrades natural areas.
Dispersal seeds can remain viable for up to 10 years and are spread by animals, on vehicles and machinery, in hay and untested pasture seed and by fast flowing water.
This species is a Class 2 declared plant under Queensland legislation.
How to act
Spraying with an appropriate herbicide is very effective. There are herbicides designed to target sporobolus grasses without harming other species. For scattered plants or isolated infestations hand chip, bag and removal of stool from paddock and burn. Grazing management methods can gain positive ongoing control.
Refer to Weed Control Methods.
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