A Spiny Problem
Bland Shire Council noxious weed staff are currently installing signage warning the public about the threat of Spiny Burr Grass. This work follows on from the previous installation of red guide posts to identify infestations on roadside sites. The posts were originally designed to alert Council operational staff and also the general public of the dangers of movement through the areas. They are red in colour and labeled with the letters: BSC SBG.
Spiny Burr grass is a serious noxious weed threat to the Bland Shire region.
Infestations have now established on several properties and many roadside, railway and other areas.
Spiny Burr grass is a spreading annual grass, usually ranging from 30-60 cm in height. It germinates in spring/summer, growing through to autumn.
It appears very similar to many other grasses, and is hard to identify until mature when it develops a spiny burr about the size and shape of a common Cathead, or Caltrop burr. Several of these burrs can occur on the top of each stem and can number anywhere from 20 – 200 per plant.
The spines of the burr are needle sharp and barbed, and are able to penetrate and adhere to almost anything they come in contact with. The seed spreads extremely easily through the ability of the barbed burr to cling to wool, fur, clothing and tyres. Wind and water can also move the burr readily.
Shearing of infested sheep can be a very difficult and painful process for shearers and wool handlers. It can also cause lameness in dogs and sheep.
Because of its ability to spread, movement of sheep can be made very difficult. Spiny Burr grass seed may be easily spread when infested sheep are sold through sale yards, direct to other landholders, agisted on properties, or moved along roads.
Land owners need to be aware that under the Noxious Weeds Act the plant must be managed in a manner that reduces its numbers spread and incidence, and that it must not be sold, propagated or knowingly distributed.
This statement emphasizes the obligations of affected landholders and the management and sale of stock- particularly sheep, or any other means of spread.
Although Council carries out regular control work on roadsides, landholders should be very aware of the risks associated in moving stock or machinery along roadsides, rail lines or any other areas where infestations may occur. Areas should be physically checked prior to any movement and constant vigilance maintained.
To assist landholders and the general public, Council is working towards establishing a map of existing roadside and rail infestations on the Bland Shire Council website.
For further information, including locations of current infestations and control methods, please contact the Noxious Weed Control Officer at Bland Shire Council.