Pampas grass

Cortaderia spp

Family: Poaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , , , , , , ,

Description

A robust, long-lived perennial tussocking grass, approximately 1–1.5m across and 2m high.

Attractive white or pinkish flower heads carried on tall stems each produce vast quantities of seed. Depending on the particular species, flowering occurs from spring through to autumn.

Dispersal

Individual plants have the ability to produce up to 100,000 seeds per flower head which are spread by wind. This can infest areas up to 25 to 40 km away. In many cases, garden plants are the seed source for infestations.

Impact on bushland

Once established, Pampas Grass is very competitive, restricting the establishment of native trees. It grows to form large clumps that can become a fire hazard and harbour vermin such as rats.

Distribution

, . Particularly Mid to Lower Mountains.

Alternative planting

Native plants

Native grasses such as:

  • Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis syn T. australis)
  • Barbed-Wire Grass (Cymbopogon refractus)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

Digging out with a mattock is a successful means of control.

Control of large plants is easier and more effective if any seed heads are removed and bagged first and the plant is slashed before grubbing the crown and roots.

The cut and paint method using herbicide may be used.

For more info

For key points on these techniques:
  • Illustration of glove for hand weeding

    Hand weeding