Live Green

Resource Newsletter - Autumn 2020

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Competitive pasture: a barrier to weeds Removing weeds can be time consuming and expensive, so prevent them from establishing by maintaining a dense and diverse coverage of pasture grasses. Also known as 'competitive pasture', this technique allows pasture grasses to develop more root mass, preventing weeds from establishing as they struggle to compete with the pasture for nutrients, water and light. When pasture becomes overgrazed – often due to high stocking rates or dry conditions – patches of exposed bare soil develop. These bare patches lack competition from other grasses, making them ideal locations for weed with windblown seeds (such as thistles and serrated tussock) to germinate. By avoiding overgrazing and maintaining a competitive pasture, the amount of time and money required to control weeds can be greatly reduced. If you would like a copy of Council's WEEDeck to help you identify weeds on your property, please contact the Sustainable Environment department on 9205 2200 or at Carrying capacity – are you overdoing it? To maintain a healthy property, it is important to only graze the number of livestock that your property can support without degrading its long-term productivity and environmental values. This amount is known as your property's 'carrying capacity'. To determine if you are exceeding your property's carrying capacity, estimate what percentage of the soil in your paddock is covered with plants (living or dead) when it is at its lowest level, such as late summer. For most of Hume, which is flat with heavy clay soils, you should aim to retain at least 70 per cent coverage during this time. If your property is steep or prone to erosion, then at least 90 per cent coverage is advisable. If you would like to calculate the number of livestock you can sustainably carry on your property, known as your potential carrying capacity, search for 'sustainable carry capacity' on Agriculture Victoria's website,, and follow the steps. ABOVE: This paddock has been reduced to approximately 50 per cent coverage, therefore will degrade over time and is prone to weed invasion. Controlling Gorse Gorse or furze (Ulex europaeus) is a dense, prickly, perennial that will overtake native vegetation and pastoral land. It grows well in poor or disturbed soils, where it will form impenetrable thickets that clog waterways, increase fire risk and provide a home for pest animals. The plant has distinctive narrow spiny leaves along the branch with a sharp spine at the tip. It produces a mass of bright yellow pea-like flowers that mature into small seed pods containing two to six seeds. Gorse seeds can remain viable in the soil upwards of 25 years, often germinating after soil disturbance. Treatment of gorse can occur year-round, but treatment before December prevents seeding. Gorse control works best when multiple methods are used as part of a long- term plan including; mechanical removal, mulching, ploughing and chemical control. Multiple herbicides exist to control gorse, so speak to your chemical provider to determine what suits your purpose and always read the label. For more information and assistance with gorse control, contact the Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) on, 0428 335 705 or visit The cover photo of this edition is of Themeda triandra (kangaroo grass) an important indigenous species. Taken in Greenvale. 2 RE-SOURCE I AUTUMN 2020

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