Fighting the war on weeds in SEQ: What to look out for and what to do


Weeds are invasive plants that are able to spread very quickly, and have devastating impacts on primary industries, natural ecosystems, and human and animal health. Weeds are estimated to cost Queensland $600 million every year.

Invasive species can have serious impacts on threatened and vulnerable species, including many found in the Ramsar listed Moreton Bay Wetland.

Under the National Weeds Strategy, 32 introduced plants were identified as Weeds of National Significance (WONS) including Asparagus weeds, Bitou bush¸ Cat’s claw creeper and Lantana.

Have you seen the Bitou Bush weed? It has glossy green leaves and yellow flowers and can be found on dunes where it spreads fast, smothering native vegetation as it goes.

Bitou bush out-competes and, in many cases, eliminates, native flora on coastal dunes. It was originally planted in New South Wales and parts of Queensland to revegetate coastal dunes following sand mining.

You must manage the impacts of Bitou bush on your land and must not give away, sell or release Bitou bush into the environment.

It is important you report all sightings to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.

More information:

Identifying and reporting invasive plants helps to minimise the impacts that weeds can have on our environment and ecosystem. Unfortunately, they can be very difficult to identify, and can sometimes be confused with plants that are not invasive, including native or endangered species. Some weeds look very different in their juvenile and mature stages.

It’s important to correctly identify weeds to ensure that control methods are effective and appropriate. Some factors to consider are where and when the plant grows, its shape, size, leaf form and flower colour.

With all this in mind, if you come across what you suspect is an invasive species, it is important to try and identify the weed and then report it.

There are a range of resources and tools available to help you identify and report weeds:

Wiping out weed at home: Tips from Brisbane City Council

  • Choose native or non-invasive plants when planting in your garden.
  • Use this tool to identify weeds in your yard and plan to remove and replace with native alternatives.
  • Consider volunteering with your local catchment or Habitat Brisbane group to help control weeds in your local area.


It’s important to dispose of weeds safely. After removing weeds, dispose of them using weed disposal practices recommended by authorities. Never dump weed cuttings, lawn cuttings or garden plants in bushland or other areas where they may spread. Never dump aquatic weeds in drains or waterways.


Striga asiatica, red witchweed, is a declared Class 1 pest plant.


Methods of controlling weeds

There are a range of methods used to control weeds including slashing and mowing, stem injection and foliar spray. Learn more about these methods below.


Slashing and mowing


Used for removing large areas of unwanted herbs and grasses that are not currently seeding.


Stem scraping


Used on unwanted small shrubs and vines with thin, relatively soft bark. Scrape one side of the stem to expose the growing layer. Within 15 seconds apply herbicide to the scrape.


Cut stump method


Suitable for unwanted small shrubs, large trees, woody plants and vines without aerial tubers. Cut completely through the stems or trunk and apply herbicide within 15 seconds.


Stem injection


Used on unwanted trees with a diameter of more than 10 centimetres. Make horizontal cuts around the trunk and apply herbicide within 15 seconds.


Basal bark treatment


Suitable for unwanted thin-barked woody weeds and trees. The stem or trunk must be sprayed with herbicide from ground level to a height of 30 centimetres.


Foliar spray


Used on unwanted shrubs, grasses and dense vines. Spray individual and small clumps of weeds with diluted herbicide.
Complete removal


This technique is used for unwanted plants which regrow from bulbs, tubers or other plant parts, such as runners. Remove all plant parts by hand pulling.


Source: Brisbane City Council


Some of these methods of removing weeds are utilised in our SEQ Weed Control Program, one of the most extensive invasive vine weed management projects undertaken in South East Queensland. Up to 148km of creek bank has been cleared of destructive weeds such as Cats Claw Creeper and Madeira over the past four years.

Where physical removal of the weeds has not been possible, biological control agents have been released into infestation to help stem the growth and spread of invasive vine weeds.


Preventing weed spread: advice for farmers

Weeds can cause serious economic, environmental and social problems for farmers. who play an important role in preventing weeds from spreading.

You can use the following strategies to prevent weeds from spreading on and from your property.

  • Develop weed plans, protocols and procedures.
  • Know the major weeds in your area. Contact your local council, Weed Spotter group, Bushcare group or Landcare group for more information.
  • Develop a pest management plan.
  • And many more tips that can be found



The SEQ Weed Removal Project is supported by Moreton Bay Regional Council and Seqwater.

The Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland Project is supported by Healthy Land and Water, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare project.

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