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Nassella trichotoma


Serrated tussock grass

Synonym(s): Stipa trichotoma
Family: Poaceae (Grass Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Grass/Grasslike


Photographer: USDA APHIS Archives, Bugwood.org
Source: USDA APHIS

Description

A perennial tussock-forming grass that can live form more than 20 years, serrated tussock has a deep fibrous root system. It grows to a height of 600 mm with a maximum diameter at its base of 150 mm. The leaves are thin (0.5 mm diameter) and tightly rolled, with small easily felt serrations along their length. Serrated tussock is similar to several native grasses in general appearance. The ligule, a small flap located at the junction of the leaf blade and the leaf sheath, is the key characteristic of serrated tussock. The ligule can be located by tracing a leaf down to where it joins the sheath and bending the leaf back at this point. Serrated tussock has a white hairless ligule about 1 mm long, whereas other grasses have ligules with different colours or hairs, or do not possess them at all. See the information box (p.3) for help in identifying the tussock grasses.

Ecological Threat: It mainly causes problems in grazing lands with poor soil fertility and low rainfall where the benefits of control are marginal. Serrated tussock has no grazing value because of its high fibre and low protein content. Infestations result in a significant loss in livestock production, and dense infestations may completely dominate pasture, making large areas incapable of supporting livestock.

Biology & Spread: Seeds are mainly spread by wind. Mature plants can produce more than 140,000 seeds per plant per year, and the very light seed head can be blown by wind over long distances (up to 20 km). It can also be spread by humans or animals. For example, it can catch on the fleece of sheep or be picked up in mud on the hooves of livestock; it can become attached to cultivating implements, in vehicle tyres, on slashing equipment or on firewood; or it may be transported by moving soil.

History:

U.S. Habitat:

Distribution

U.S. Nativity: Cultivated, or not in the U.S.

Native Origin: Cultivated, or not in the U.S.

U.S. Present: Not Available

Distribution:

Mapping

Invaders of Texas Map: Nassella trichotoma
EDDMapS: Nassella trichotoma
USDA Plants Texas County Map: Nassella trichotoma

Resembles/Alternatives

Management

Buy certified seed and donít purchase hay or stock from contaminated areas. Spot spray with a registered herbicide or chip with a mattock before tussocks set seed to control light and scattered infestations.

USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.

Text References

Australian Government. 2003. Weeds of National Significance: Serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma. Accessed 19 August 2010 (http://www.weeds.gov.au/publications/guidelines/wons/pubs/n-trichotoma.pdf).

Online Resources

Search Online

Google Search: Nassella trichotoma
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USDA Plants: Nassella trichotoma
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Nassella trichotoma
Bugwood Network Images: Nassella trichotoma

Last Updated: 2007-11-08 by LBJWFC
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