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Mexican Feather Grass In Your Lawn: What Victorians Need To Know

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Gardeners across Australia must find ways to help their lawns cope with the climate extremes that often occur. In an attempt to look for hardier or more interesting new grasses and plants, many Victorian gardeners buy imported seeds and plants, but, in some cases, encouraging the wrong species could land you in trouble with the law. Learn more about Mexican Feather Grass, and find out why you need to keep this species out of your lawn and garden. How the Victorian government controls unwanted weeds and plants Some plant and grass species present a threat to the Australian economy. These species are often aggressive and hardy, and can take over from native species and disturb the local environment. The Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) manages the Invasive Plants and Animals Policy Framework to protect local species from unwanted plants and weeds. The Department takes different measures according to the size of the area that the invasive species occupies. The Department’s Invasion Curve shows how much effort and money it takes to deal with an invasive species once it occupies a large area. Prevention is, by far, the most effective option against unwanted plants. Once a plant takes hold, the local government spends a lot more time and effort on the problem. In a worst case, you may need to spend one dollar to protect every dollar of revenue that you might otherwise lose. At the prevention stage, one dollar can protect 100 dollars of revenue or income. As such, Victorian gardeners must stay vigilant against invasive species. These species include Mexican Feather Grass. How Mexican Feather Grass invaded Victoria Mexican Feather Grass is not native to Victoria or any other Australian state. Unfortunately, in 2008, some Victorian retailers imported a large quantity of foreign ornamental grasses. Experts believe that these seeds were contaminated with Mexican Feather Grass. These retail stores then propagated and sold the unwanted plants. Retailers often inadvertently sold these plants as Stipa lessinginia or Stipa Regal Sensation. Unwitting gardeners then planted the grass plants, allowing the species to quickly spread. A similar issue also occurred in New South Wales. The Victorian government now categorises Mexican Feather Grass as a prohibited weed. Fortunately, the spread of the species remains fairly low, and, with vigilance, gardeners can help the government eradicate the species. The damage Mexican Feather Grass can cause Experts believe that Mexican Feather Grass could cost the Australian economy as much as $10 million each year. The species is hardy in harsh drought conditions, meaning that it can survive very hot periods. As such, Mexican Feather Grass could easily kill off other native plant species, including endangered or protected specimens. Mexican Feather Grass is an unwelcome addition to the average lawn. In drought conditions, the plant is likely to stop other turf species surviving. When you allow the plant to grow, it forms bold tussocks, which are unlikely to improve the lawn’s appearance. Indeed, in the United States, gardeners generally only use Mexican Feather Grass as an ornamental species in rock gardens and around water features. What to look for Mexican Feather Grass forms dense, upright tussocks. Each tussock is likely to grow to around 70cm high, so the species will quickly become prominent when seeded into a lawn. You can easily roll...

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