Pampas grass

Cortaderia spp

Family: Poaceae

Type of weed:

Flower colour(s): ,

Priority Weed Regional Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , , , , , , ,


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.


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.


, . 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.


  • Hand remove
  • Remove flowers, fruit, pods or seeds
  • Spray
  • Cut and paint

Manual control

Hand remove

Grasp stem at ground level. Rock weed backwards and forwards to loosen roots, then pull out gently. Carefully tap the roots to dislodge attached soil. Replace disturbed soil and pat down.

  • Leave weeds so that roots do not make contact with soil; on a rock, for instance. A small amount of debris may be hung in a tree or removed from the site.
  • Vary the position of your body to avoid fatigue when removing plants by hand over extended periods.

Remove seeds, pods or fruit

Gently remove any seeds, pods or fruit and carefully place in a bag.

Chemical control

Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Glyphosate.


Please consult the Herbicide page of this website to help you decide whether to spray, how to do it safely and more.

Cut and paint

Applying poison to cut stump from squeeze bottle
Apply poison immediately after cutting

Useful for small to medium sized woody weeds up to 10 cm in diameter.

Make a horizontal cut as close to the ground as possible with secateurs or loppers, and immediately apply concentrated Glyphosate to the exposed stump surface. Do not allow the surface to get covered with soil.

Specific control tips for this weed

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 key points on these techniques:

Regional Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be eradicated from the land, which must be kept free of the plant.
  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Illustration of glove for hand weeding

    Hand weeding