Pain In The Grass: Why And How To Remove Gamba Grass Growing On Your Land

25 September 2017
 Categories: Environmental, Blog


It's no secret that Australia has one serious weed problem, and the spread of non-native species of flora across wide tracts of land poses an ever-increasing threat to the delicate and unique ecosystems native to the continent. As such, all landowners should be practising judicious bush regeneration techniques to promote the growth of native plants, while stifling non-native varieties. However, some non-native weeds merit more attention than others, and one of the most important and treacherous invasive weeds in Australia today is gamba grass.

What is gamba grass, and what threat does it pose to your land?

Native to the tropical regions of Africa, gamba grass was introduced to Australia as a valuable form of cattle feed, but its voracious growth habits quickly saw it escape pastures and plantations to pose a threat to Australian wildlife at large. Gamba grass essentially resembles oversized lawn grass, with large blade-like leaves covered in hairy growths. It tends to grow in tussocks of many plants bunched tightly together and can grow several metres in height if left undisturbed. 

Despite these relatively innocuous appearance, gamba grass is not a plant to be trifled with; capable of growing in both dry and wet conditions, gamba grass's large size is sustained by a voracious appetite for water and nutrients, and a few tussocks of gamba grass will quickly drain their surrounding soil of all potential sources of plant food. It goes without saying that this has a devastating effect on surrounding native flora, and full-grown trees can be weakened and killed by extensive gamba grass growth.

However, this is not the end of gamba grass's sinister qualities, as the bunched bundles of leaves also catch fire easily. Gamba grass growing in the path of a bush fire will quickly burn with extremely intense heat due to the high biomass of the tussocks, and a small, isolated fire can quickly be turned into a blazing inferno with enough gamba grass to feed on.

How can gamba grass be removed from your land?

Needless to say, this thoroughly unpleasant grass has no business growing on your land, and you should take steps to both remove any gamba grass growing on your land and prevent new growth from appearing. Luckily, you have a number of options when it comes to gamba grass control methods:

  • Manual removal: With enough manpower and some sharp machetes, gamba grass tussocks can be removed manually. Care should be taken to removed all traces of root matter from the soil to prevent regrowth. This method has minimal impact on the surrounding environment, but is laborious and can be time consuming.
  • Herbicidal treatments: Glyphospate-based herbicides are brutally effective, and are excellent when large stands of grass need to be removed quickly. However, glyphosphate can also damage desirable native flora if used improperly. Hiring bush regeneration experts to oversee herbicidal treatments is the best way to limit damage done to native plants and animals.
  • Grazing: If you own land used for grazing livestock, they can be used to limit the growth of gamba grass by simply eating it. However, most grass-eating animals refuse to tackle the plant once it gets too large, so this is more effective at preventing gamba brass infestation than curing it.

For more information, contact a business such as EcoHort Pty Ltd.