The native fairy grass (Lachnagrostis filiformis (G. Forst.) Trin.) has colonised extensive areas of dry lake beds in western Victoria during the current drought. Large numbers of the plants’ detached mature panicles (seed heads) lodge against housing, fences, railway lines and other obstacles. This can be a fire hazard, degrades township aesthetics and creates a general nuisance to communities of lakeside towns. Current control measures are costly and only provide short-term solutions. A three-year study commencing in 2006 was designed to assess current and innovative control measures and develop a potential long-term management solution to the problem. Treatments applied to the bed of Lake Learmonth during the first year of the study included late-season glyphosate herbicide at two concentrations, late-season slashing, and seed broadcasting of two native species to reduce L. filiformis inflorescence biomass through competition. Slashing reduced L. filiformis inflorescence biomass and herbicide treatments successfully killed L. filiformis plants, while having no effect on germination of seed collected from sprayed plants. Although these treatments successfully limited the impact of L. filiformis on lakeside towns during the first year, the longer term efficiency is doubted. Treatment effects will be monitored over a further two years.
The indigenous Lachnagrostis filiformis colonized extensive areas of dry lake beds in Victoria, Australia, during the drought from 1997 to 2009. Large numbers of the plants' detached seed heads disperse in the wind, lodging against nearby housing, fences and other obstacles. This accumulation of material creates a fire hazard, degrades townships' aesthetics and presents a nuisance to the communities of lake-side towns. This study aimed to examine the effects of various control methods on L.?filiformis in the short and long term. Although herbicide applications, slashing, grazing and burning were found to be effective in controlling the blown L.?filiformis seed heads in the short term, they failed to prevent subsequent reinvasion and can increase its abundance in the long term. The late application of herbicide resulted in an increase in the foliage cover and seed-head biomass of L.?filiformis by up to 37% and 150%, respectively, in the year following the treatment application. The results from this study highlight how management focused on achieving short-term goals, without consideration of the successional trajectory after implementation, can not only fail but be counter-productive in the long term. In order to achieve sustainable management, the fundamental ecological processes that promote the establishment and persistence of the weed need to be addressed.