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Grass identification

6 Jun 2019 9:55 PM | Jennie Curtis (Administrator)

Learning to identify grass weeds, pasture grasses and native plants was the focus of this Farmers Postcard event led by Kris Nash and Fiona Leach, Agricultural Adviser with South East Local Land Services.

Kris showed the participants how to use the morphology of a grass plant for identification, most importantly the ligule and auricle on the sheath of the grass stem. Here are copies of Kris’s handouts explaining the different parts of grasses and identification of grass weeds and native grasses:

Parts of grasses
Field ID for native grasses
Field ID for exotic grasses

Key messages

Clearing for agriculture, grazing and urban development has seen the decline of natural temperate grasslands in Australia. There is now only 0.5% of natural temperate grasslands left in Australia. Preserving and managing this declining valuable resource is very important.

You need some disturbance regime to manage native grassland. Aboriginal people used traditional burning techniques to manage the diversity of species living in an area.

Grass weeds are like teenagers, they change their appearance with the season making them difficult to identify at different times of the year.

Tips to maintain a healthy pasture:

  • Don’t over graze the pasture and do practice rotational grazing.
  • Cover bare soil where possible and carry around some seed to sow desirable species.
  • Create micro climates for seeds to collect and germinate.
  • If you want to collect seed heads try using old baskets or branches to protect the seed from livestock and kangaroos.

African Love Grass can be distinguished from Hairy Panic by looking at the seed, Hairy Panic has two seeds on the end of each 'stem'. African Love Grass plants often look messy at the base with old curly leaves in the centre of the thatch. This grass has a higher feed value than Serrated Tussock but is very invasive.

African Love Grass fact sheet
Serrated Tussock fact sheet
Chilean Needle Grass fact sheet


Small Farms Network Capital Region Inc
NSW 2621

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