The declared and notifiable weed, Khaki Weed (Alternanthera pungens), has recently been found in McLaren Vale, so far on five properties. Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges is working hard to contain and eradicate this weed before it becomes established.

Natural Resources is calling on all growers to be vigilant and rigorous with cleaning and checking of machinery, equipment, footwear and clothing on the way in and out of properties to stop the spread of insidious weeds.

Khaki Weed, native to Central and South America, is a summer-growing perennial herb with a perennial woody taproot and annual above-ground growth. It is a problematic pest plant in irrigated pastures, recreational parks and established lawns. It spreads by seed within spiny bracts (burrs) that adhere to tyres, clothing and animals. The spiny burrs damage the feet and mouths of stock and degrade wool quality.

With vintage in full swing involving significant machinery and people movement, the potential for this weed to be spread between properties is high. Once established, Khaki Weed will be costly and troublesome to control, as has been encountered interstate.

Natural Resources urges growers and contractors to take the following steps during harvest:

  • Strictly follow all hygiene procedures when washing down machinery;
  • Check all clothing, shoes and vehicle tyres for burrs before moving to another property;
  • Check the ground, especially around irrigated areas and high traffic areas for this plant. if you find a plant, dig out the whole plant carefully including the tap root;
  • Collect any burrs left on the ground. A towel or cloth is handy for this as the burrs will readily cling to the material;
  • Dispose of plants and burrs in a sealed plastic bag and bury on site if possible;
  • Don’t leave pulled plants on the soil surface; and
  • Notify Natural Resources Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges on (08) 8550 3400 immediately if you see the weed. A staff member will visit you to discuss next steps.

For more information, refer to the Khaki weed fact sheet.