Spanish Heath

Spanish Heath is a declared weed (must be controlled on the land where it is growing) and has the ability to invade pastures and bushland areas.

It is a woody shrub commonly found on road edges and other disturbed sites. It flowers from late Autumn to early Summer, with numerous, small, white flowers which are tubular in shape with pink tinged buds. Leaves are light green, narrow and soft to the touch. You can easily distinguish this weed from the native heaths which have leaves that are tough and spiky and generally fewer but larger flowers.

Spanish Heath produces many tiny seeds which germinate easily and also readily re-sprout after fire and slashing, so these techniques should not be used for control.

DO NOT dump plants with mature seeds in areas that have not been infested with Spanish Heath otherwise the problem will spread.

Spanish Heath can also layer and regrow from pieces left lying on moist ground.

Hand pulling

Seedlings and young plants are shallow rooted and can be easily hand pulled, especially when the soil is moist.

Large plants can be uprooted using a device such as a ‘Tree Popper’, which clamps around the stem at the base of the plant and then is used as a lever to "pop" it out of the ground, roots and all.

Cut and swab method

If the soil is too dry for hand removal then plants can be cut off close to ground level using either secateurs, loppers or a hand saw, depending upon the diameter of the stems.

To effectively kill the plants the stem bases need to be swabbed with Glyphosate (mixed with water 50:50) within 20 seconds of cutting.

Adding a dye colour to the herbicide can assist you to ensure that all stems are treated.

Spraying

Dense infestations of seedlings can be sprayed with an appropriate herbicide, but all foliage must be wetted down, with a wetting agent added to improve penetration of the herbicide. Adding a dye to the spray mixture will assist in making sure that all of the fine leaves are wetted. Information on herbicides and chemicals for control of Spanish Heath is available from DPIPWE web site.

Best spraying results are achieved in spring when plants are actively growing. Ensure that appropriate personal protective equipment is used for any herbicide applications.

DO NOT spray near creeks or drainage lines or in areas where there are native plants – use alternative methods in these situations.

More information on Spanish Heath Control methods available from DPIPWE.

Read more about the Gowrie Park Weed Project


Additional information