Vulpia myuros (L.) C.C.Gmel.
Rat's Tail Fescue

Reference
Fl.Bad. 1:8-9 (1805)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status
Current

Tufted annual, grass-like or herb, 0.07-0.7 m high. Fl. green, Jul to Nov. Sand, loam, lateritic gravel.

Amanda Spooner, Descriptive Catalogue, 30 August 1999

Distribution

IBRA Regions
Avon Wheatbelt, Coolgardie, Esperance Plains, Geraldton Sandplains, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, Murchison, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren, Yalgoo.
IBRA Subregions
Dandaragan Plateau, Eastern Goldfield, Eastern Mallee, Edel, Fitzgerald, Geraldton Hills, Katanning, Lesueur Sandplain, Mardabilla, Merredin, Northern Jarrah Forest, Perth, Recherche, Southern Cross, Southern Jarrah Forest, Tallering, Warren, Western Mallee, Western Murchison.
IMCRA Regions
Abrolhos Islands, Central West Coast, Leeuwin-Naturaliste, WA South Coast.
Local Government Areas (LGAs)
Albany, Armadale, Beverley, Boddington, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Brookton, Busselton, Canning, Carnamah, Chapman Valley, Claremont, Cockburn, Collie, Coolgardie, Coorow, Corrigin, Cranbrook, Cunderdin, Dalwallinu, Dandaragan, Denmark, Dowerin, Dumbleyung, Dundas, Esperance, Gnowangerup, Goomalling, Gosnells, Greater Geraldton, Harvey, Irwin, Jerramungup, Kalamunda, Kellerberrin, Kent, Kondinin, Koorda, Kulin, Kwinana, Lake Grace, Manjimup, Melville, Merredin, Mingenew, Moora, Morawa, Mount Marshall, Mukinbudin, Mundaring, Murray, Nannup, Narrogin, Northam, Northampton, Perenjori, Perth, Pingelly, Plantagenet, Quairading, Ravensthorpe, Rockingham, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Swan, Tammin, Three Springs, Toodyay, Trayning, Victoria Plains, Wagin, Wanneroo, Waroona, West Arthur, Westonia, Wickepin, Wongan-Ballidu, Wyalkatchem, Yalgoo, Yilgarn, York.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

Alternative Names. Foxtail fescue, rattail sixweeks grass, annual fescue.

General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Annual, caespitose. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Mammals, water, wind. Photosynthetic Pathway. C3. Seedbank persistence. 2-3 years. Fire response. Seed survives most fires, spring fires kill flowering plants.

Notes. Widespread in temperate and subtropical regions and most common on dry, disturbed sites. Is an invasive prevalent weed in Mediterranean ecosystems, where it can negatively impact natural grassland ecosystem function. Cover varies greatly from year to year depending upon rainfall received during the growing season. Able to grow on low fertility compacted soils. Found in open sites and is most common in early succession. Disturbances that expose bare ground favour establishment. Exhibits strongly plastic growth responses. Has high germination rates over a range of temperatures. Fresh seed can germinate and emerge in any season, however most germination occurs with the first significant late summer or early autumn rain. Its post-fire establishment is dependent upon favorable rainfall. Due to long awns, seed can easily attach to animals and disperse long distances. Soil-stored seed is sufficiently abundant to maintain populations in years of low seed production. Seed has high germination rates and this can take place over a range of environmental conditions. Resistant to fops group of herbicides, including fluazifop-butyl (Fusilade® Forte) and Targa®.

Additional information. Origin. Mediterranean, northern Africa, temperate and tropical Asia. History of use/introduction. Seed contaminant, erosion control, revegetation, soil improver. Similar exotic species. Vulpia bromoides.

Suggested method of management and control. With a short life span there is usually only a short window to undertake control while actively growing. Hand pull plants or spray with Select® 10 ml/10 L (500 ml/ha) prior to boot stage. Prevent seed set. 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.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Active Growth           Y Y Y Y Y Y    
Germination       O Y O              
Flowering       O Y O     Y Y Y    
Fruiting                   U U    
Optimum Treatment             Y Y Y        

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

  • Ball, D.A., Frost, S.M., Fandrich, L., Tarasoff, C. & Mallory-Smith, C. (2008) Biological attributes of Rattail Fescue (Vulpia myuros). Weed Science, 56 (1).
  • Brown, C.S. & Rice, K.J. (2000) The mark of Zorro: Effects of the exotic annual grass Vulpia myuros on California native perennial grasses. Restoration ecology, 8 (1): 10-17.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Dillon, S.P. & Forcella, F. (1984) Germination, emergence, vegetative growth and flowering of two silvergrasses, Vulpia bromoides (l.) S.F. Gray and V. myuros (L.) C.C. Gmel. Australian Journal of Botany, 32: 165-175.
  • Howard, J.L. (2006) Vulpia myuros, In: Fire Effects Information System [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory URL: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/graminoid/vulmyu/all.html - Accessed February 2010.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Lonsdale, W.M., Dowling, P.M. & Vitou, J. (1999) Population dynamics of Vulpia in exotic and native ranges. In 12th Australian Weeds Conference, Papers and Proceedings, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 12-16 September 1999: Weed management into the 21st century: do we know where we're going?.389-391.
  • Moore, J.H. & Wheeler, J. (2008) Southern weeds and their control. DAFWA Bulletin 4744.
  • Scott, J.M. & Blair, G.J. (1987) Competition from Vulpia myuros (L.) C.C. Gmelin in pastures, and its control by coating seeds with herbicides. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 27 (3): 367 - 375.
  • Tirmenstein, D.A. (1987) Vulpia myuros. In U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (2002, April). URL: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/ - Accessed December 2007.
  • Tozer, K.N., Chapman, D.F., Quigley, P.E., Dowling, P.M., Cousens, R.D. & Kearney, G.A. (2008) Effect of grazing, gap dynamics & inter-specific seedling competition on growth and survival of Vulpia spp. and Hordeum murinum spp. leporinum. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 59: 646-655.
  • Tozer, K.N., Chapman, D.F., Quigley, P.E., Dowling, P.M., Cousens, R.D. & Kearney, G.A. (2009) Integrated management of vulpia in dryland perennial pastures of southern Australia. Crop and Pasture Science, 60: 32-42.
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program (2009) Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx - Accessed October 2009.
  • Wallace, A. (1997) The biology of Australian Weeds. 30. Vulpia bromoides ((L.) S.F. Gray) and V. myuros ((L.) C.C. Gmelin). Plant Protection Quarterly, 12 (1): 18-28.