Look out for unwanted Mexican grass in Sutherland Shire

14 Jan 2021

Mexican feather grass in Barden Ridge, NSW

Sutherland Shire Council has alerted residents to look out for Mexican feather grass, a weed which poses a significant biosecurity risk, following its detection in five Barden Ridge locations by council staff.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) State Priority Weeds coordinator, Nicola Dixon, said this is the first time Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima) has been found growing in the Greater Sydney region.

“We encourage people to look for the weed in gardens, paddocks, roadsides and disturbed bushland,” Ms Dixon said.

“Please call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline, 1800 680 244, if you see the weed and do not attempt to treat or dispose of this weed yourself.

“Sutherland Shire residents who suspect they have seen Mexican feather grass can directly contact council by calling 9710 0333 or emailing pestspecies@ssc.nsw.gov.au and staff will be able inspect the plants straight away.

“NSW DPI is leading the response, in association with council, to eradicate Mexican feather grass as we continue surveillance to find and remove plants from gardens and roadsides in Barden Ridge.”

Mexican feather grass is illegal to sell in NSW, can quickly take over pastures and bushlands, is difficult to control and could invade up to 65 per cent of NSW.

The plant which grows in dense upright tussocks up to 70 centimetres tall, is similar to common and harmless garden plants and was mistakenly sold as a decorative grass in Australia in 2006.

Its green to yellow leaves are very fine, hair-like, up to 0.5 millimetres wide and tightly rolled. Leaves in the centre of the clump are usually the tallest and upright but may droop over at the top and leaves at the edge of the clump are often shorter and bend away from the plant.

Mexican feather grass is native to southern parts of the United States, Central and South America.

It has been found and removed from gardens in Tenterfield and Tamworth in 2006, Lithgow in 2019 and Leeton in 2019.

Information and images of Mexican feather grass are available on the NSW DPI website, https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/weeds/MexicanFeatherGrass

Hi-res images available from bernadette.york@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Media contact: Bernadette York 0427 773 785