Annual Veldt Grass (Ehrharta longiflora)

Description

This annual grass is commonly 50-80 cm tall. The leaf blades have dark stem-clasping bases and a membranous tongue (ligule) between the blade and sheath. The purplish green inflorescence is fairly loose with large drooping spikelets. Each spikelet is 1-3 cm long with 3 florets, but only the upper one is fertile. The outer segment (lemma) of the sterile florets is tapered to a bristle up to 12 mm long.

Native to South Africa, it is now a widespread and common weed particularly of coastal areas and creeklines. It flowers in winter, spring and summer.

A similar species, Perennial Veldt Grass (Ehrharta calycina) has much shorter spikelets and usually has a perennial growth pattern.

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Control

Prevent seed set for 2-3 years by grazing heavily and continually, mowing regularly, cultivating, hand weeding or using herbicides.

In bushland situations, 1 L/ha quizalofop(100g/L) or 1.6 L/ha Fusilade®Forte or 200 mL/ha Verdict®520 plus 1% spray oil, applied in winter, provides good control with little damage to broad-leaved species. For hand spraying, use 20 mL quizalofop(100g/L) or 32 mL Fusilade®Forte or 4 mL Verdict®520 plus 100 mL spray oil in 10 L water and spray until just wet. In non-selective situations, 40 mL glyphosate(450g/L) in 10 L water applied in winter or spring, up to flowering, provides good control. Repeat annually.

Spray-topping with 400 mL/ha glyphosate(450g/L) in spring when the Veldt Grass is flowering can provide selective control in roadside vegetation. Use triple rates if Perennial Veldt Grass is present.