Caespitose perennial, grass-like or herb, 0.3-0.7 m high. Fl. green/purple/red, Mar to Apr or Aug to Sep. White, grey or yellow sand, loam.
Alternative Names. Common Ehrharta, veldtgrass.
General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Perennial, caespitose/shortly rhizomatous. Reproduction. Seed, short rhizome. Dispersal. Water, wind, birds, mammals, slashing. Photosynthetic Pathway. C3. Time to first flowering. 1 year. Seedbank persistence. Short, days-5 years. Fire response. Resprouts, enhances seed production and germination. Intense fires can reduce the seedbank, as seed largely accumulates in the top of the soil profile where it is susceptible to high temperatures.
Notes. Commonly invades disturbed ecosystems. Also capable of invading undisturbed ecosystems, including heathland, woodland and forest. It represents a major threat to the conservation values of Banksia woodlands on sandy soils north and south of Perth. Frequent disturbance (especially fire) and higher nutrient levels favour invasion. Has high growth rates. Resistant to drought and frost. Does not tolerate waterlogging, anaerobic conditions or high salinity levels. Established plants resprout vigorously from the base of the tussock following drought stress. Sets prolific seed resulting in high soil seed bank densities. Seed germinates under a wide range of temperature and light conditions. Seed germinates rapidly compared to native species, leading to early dominance. Capable of altering nutrient cycles. Thought to have acid-secreting root hairs which increase the availablity of nutrients. Possibly can change soil physical and hydrologic properties over time, including increasing water repellance.
Additional information. Origin. Southern Africa. History of use/introduction. Introduced as a forage crop, cultivated in Australia and California as a drought-resistant pasture, also used for erosion control.
Suggested method of management and control. For small infestations, cut out plants ensuring crown removal. Do not slash. Alternatively spray with Fusilade® Forte 13 ml/L or 6.5 L/ha + wetting agent on actively growing and unstressed plants. For generic fluazifop-p (212g/L active ingredient) 8ml/L or 4L/ha +wetting agent. Follow-up in subsequent years. Use unplanned fires to spray regrowth and seedlings within 4-6 weeks of germination. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.
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