Managing Invasive Plants

Pest plants 
There are many methods available to control invasive plants. Often one method will not be sufficient to control serious invasive plants and integrating several methods over a long period will be more successful. This approach is known as integrated management.

The appropriate invasive plant control method/s used will depend on a range of factors including:

  • Type of plant
  • Size and growth habit of plants
  • Surrounding plants, landscape and land use
  • Scale and density of the plant infestation
  • Other species impacting the site
  • Seasonal and weather conditions
  • Habitat considerations and surrounding native vegetation
  • Safety considerations
  • Available resources

If possible use a combination of two or more control techniques.

Control options that can be used include the following:

Environmental management

Environmental management aims to alter the conditions required by a particular invasive plant.

Chemical control

Chemical control involves the use of herbicides. Herbicides control invasive plants either by speeding up, stopping or changing the plant's normal growth patterns; by desiccating (drying out) the leaves or stems; or by defoliating the plant (making it drop its leaves).

Control techniques

Some techniques are more suitable for control of particular species and in different situations than are others.

  • Foliar spraying
  • Basal bark spraying
  • Stem injection
  • Cut stump
  • Cut and swab, Frilling
  • Stem scraper
  • Wick applicators
Mechanical control

Mechanical control is the use of powered tools and machinery to manage invasive plants. It is suitable for larger infestations because it reduces the invasive plant bulk with less manual effort. Care should be taken to minimise soil disturbance.

Biological control

Biological control involves the use of insects or pathogens (diseases) that affect the health of the invasive plants. Usually, these biocontrol agents are from the same country of origin as the invasive plant species.   

Manual control 

Manual control is the use of the hands or handheld tools to deal with invasive plants. An advantage of manual control is that it minimises soil disturbance, and decreases the likelihood of erosion and invasive plant seed germination. 

  • Hand pulling
  • Grubbing or chipping

Successful long-term declared plant control requires planning, working methodically and ensuring follow up control and maintenance is ongoing.

Council have weed spray units for hire.

For further information on the control of invasive plant, please visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) website or contact a Pest Management Officer on 07 4932 9000 or 1300 22 55 77.