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Close up of blackberries with an overlay stating ‘Backyard Biosecurity, it’s up to all of us’ and ‘Agriculture Victoria’
Edition 4: Weeds
In this edition:

Weeds are unfortunately a part of land ownership and it’s good to keep on top of them. Weeds species are significant biosecurity problems in their own right, as well as being alternate hosts of some agricultural and horticultural pests. Some weeds can also make livestock sick.

Impact of weeds
Image of hills and field with gorse infestation

caption: gorse infestation

Weeds can have a destructive impact on agriculture and the environment. Some can also cause severe illness in both people and animals.

Many weeds are very invasive and can spread quickly across large areas of land and water.

If left unchecked, weeds can outcompete native plants for resources, reduce the quality of farming land, and alter fire patterns, water flow, nutrient cycling, and wildlife diversity.

Weeds can be introduced or spread in many ways, including via:

  • water
  • wind
  • stock feed
  • animals, including farm animals, wild animals, and pets
  • machinery like tractors, harvesters, cars, and trucks
  • deliberate introduction (e.g., willows planted for bank stabilisation)
  • earth material like soil, sand, gravel, and rocks
  • plant materials like wood chips, mulch, potted plants, and seeds
  • Illegal or accidental sale in places like nurseries, markets, and online
  • escape from gardens.
Controlling weeds
Close up of gorse (left), close up of blackberries (right)

caption: gorse (left), blackberries (right)

Weeds can be controlled in several ways and there are lots of tools and resources available to help you plan a weed control program on your property.

It is best to control weeds before they have a chance to seed or spread.

Different types of weeds grow, flower, and go to seed at different times of the year or in different weather conditions. It is important to identify the type of weed so you can work out when is the best time to treat and control it. For example, it is best to treat blackberry between September and April but best to treat caltrop (bindii / cat head) between October and December or March and May.  

It is a good idea to get out and have a walk around your property regularly to look for weeds, particularly around watercourses, boundaries, and areas where the soil has been disturbed or new materials like soil or mulch have been brought in.

If you notice any new or suspect weeds, you can check the Agriculture Victoria Weeds Information page for tips on identification and control. You can also talk to an agronomist, someone from your local Landcare group, or if you want advice about using herbicides contact staff at shops that sell agricultural chemicals.

There are different control methods available depending on the type of weed, the situation it is in, and what you prefer as the manager of the land. These include:

  • hand pulling and hoeing
  • spraying with herbicides
  • strategic grazing
  • pasture management
  • avoiding bare soil
  • biological control agents
  • cultivation
  • slashing
  • mulching

Not all methods are suitable for all species of weeds and in some cases, a method that works well for controlling one type of weed can cause other weeds to grow or spread faster. Making sure you know what weed you’re dealing with is key to an effective control program.

Weed control is a community effort
Scenery showing willows and blackberries infestation

caption: willows and blackberries infestation

Many weeds are so widespread that they cannot be completely removed from the landscape. We can however manage them to minimise problems and impacts on the environment, farmers, and the community. Every person or organisation who owns or manages land in Victoria is responsible for the control and management of weeds on their land (except for state prohibited weeds - see below) Everyone in the community needs to work together and do their part to make sure that weeds can be kept under control for the long term.

Local community groups, such as Landcare, are a valuable source of information and advice on weed control activities that you can participate in. Victoria also has several community-based groups who work with Victorian communities and government agencies to control certain types of weeds. These include the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce, the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party, and the Victorian Gorse Taskforce.

State Prohibited Weeds

State prohibited weeds are high risk weeds that either are not found in Victoria, or which have only been found in very small numbers and so could still be eradicated. Unlike widespread weeds, it is Agriculture Victoria’s responsibility to manage and control State prohibited weeds, no matter where they are in Victoria.

Public reports are important to help Agriculture Victoria find and eradicate State prohibited weeds. By looking out for and reporting them, you can help protect Victoria from these high-risk invasive plants.

Report a State prohibited weed to Agriculture Victoria by:

For more information, check out Agriculture Victoria’s state prohibited weeds page or have a look at the High Risk Invasive Plants YouTube playlist.

The Weed Spotter Program

Weed Spotters assist Agriculture Victoria by looking out for and reporting state prohibited weeds. The Weed Spotters program is for people who do jobs or activities where they spend time in places where these weeds could be found. This includes people such as contractors, horticulturalists, landscapers, consultants, and staff from agencies such as Parks Victoria, Catchment Management Authorities, and local councils. There is training available through the Weed Spotters program about state prohibited weed identification and how to make a report.

If you would like to become a Weed Spotter, phone 136 186 or email and provide your name, postal address, daytime phone number, email address and any industry or other relevant group affiliation.

Alternatively, you can click on the email subscription link below to provide your details to Agriculture Victoria and become a Weed Spotter.

Sign up to become a Weed Spotter.

In the next editions, we will take a a closer look at managing the health and welfare of your animals. First up will be poultry.

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Agriculture Victoria

Further reading

To find out more about weeds in your area, have a look at the Weeds and Pests on Public Land Program website.

Contacting Agriculture Victoria

Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or

All contact points can be found at:

Don't forget to check out Agriculture Victoria's social media sites for up-to-date information and news.



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