South East Local Land Services are advising Eurobodalla land managers to keep an eye out for incursions of ‘spiny rush’ (Juncus acutuis), an invasive weed which is a threat to key coastal ecosystems.
“Many land managers are unaware of spiny rush, and the serious risk it poses to their grazing operations and the environment” said Senior Local Land Services Officer, Sonia Bazzacco.
“Stock don’t eat it due to its sharp spines, so it has a competitive advantage over other native and introduced pastures.
“It then forms impenetrable stands in grazing areas and around water sources, it displaces pasture, and causes foot and lower body penetration injuries to horses and stock trying to move through these thickets to get to water and feed”.
Spiny rush is considered a high threat to the coastal saltmarsh and swamp oak forest Endangered Ecological Communities. Its presence disrupts the biological function of these areas, including displacing the native sea rush (Juncus kraussii), altering the ecology of an area, subsequent loss of habitat for native fauna and skin penetration injuries for native animals such as wallabies and kangaroos.
“Spiny rush is very difficult to control once established, especially in an area like the Eurobodalla with nearby waterways and the industries they support, so identifying the issue before it takes hold is crucial.
“Managing this weed in the Eurobodalla is also important to reduce its spread to the Bega Valley Shire where it is almost non-existent”.
Spiny rush or sea rush?
Spiny rush is dark green in colour, has a tightly formed seed head that is shiny brown that is usually held very close to the sharp tips. Spiny rush also tends to be more spherical in profile with much stiffer leaves than the native sea rush.
Sea rush is a duller green and has a loose looking brown seed head, with a smaller seed head and seed.
Another way to tell them apart, is to press down (gently!) on the leaves, sea rush will bend easily, while spiny rush will feel far stiffer and the tips are much sharper.
Spiny rush juncus acutus with its shiny brown tightly formed seed head close to the tips of the leaves
Sea rush juncus kraussii with its dull brown loose seed head
What to do if you find it
Spiny rush is difficult to control without causing damage to the surrounding aquatic environment and native vegetation.
South East Local Land Services has funding available through Eurobodalla Shire Council for land managers to help control Spiny Rush on their property.
If you suspect that you have this weed on your property and are interested in funding to manage it, please contact Mitchell Jarvis at Eurobodalla Shire Council on 0429 445 897.