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QTPA Member Alert | QUEENSLANDS EXPOSURE TO “GIANTS RAT’s TAIL” GRASS – Declared Class 2 Pest Plant (16/7/2012)


In June 2012 the Queensland government Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFFQ) advised through their Biosecurity section ( the giant rats tail grass and other weedy ‘Sporobolus grasses’ are invasive and can reduce pasture productivity, out-compete desirable pasture grasses and cause significant degradation of natural areas.  These species were originally introduced as contaminants in pasture seed and have now adapted so well to large areas of Eastern Australia in particular from Cooktown to the central coast of New South Wales. 5 species of introduced Sporobolus grasses are declared “Class 2” plants in Queensland.

  • Giant rat’s tail grass.
  • American rats tail grass.
  • Giant Parramatta grass
  • Parramatta grass.

Under Queensland’s Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002, landholders are required to control “Class 2” declared pests on land and waters under their control.

Weedy Sporobolus grasses are robust, tufted, perennial grasses growing up to 2m tall.  They are difficult to distinguish from other pasture grasses before maturity.  However their leaves are noticeably tougher than those of any other species. They can be difficult to distinguish from native Sporobolus grasses; however, the native grasses tend to be shorter and softer and have less dense seed heads than giant rats tail grass.  The seeds of all species are indistinguishable in pasture seed samples using current identification techniques.

Weedy Sporobolus seeds are spread:

  • By livestock in manure and one fur or hooves.
  • By fast flowing water over turf.
  • By feral and native animals.
  • On vehicles and machinery.
  • In a an untested pasture seed.

From Turf Queensland’s perspective the best practice for management of weeds and pests by specifiers and end users is to ensure that natural Turfgrass is only purchased from a Turf Queensland Accredited (TAP) dealer.

For more information check out the Queensland government’s Biosecurity website :

Jim Vaughan

Chief Executive Officer


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