Tropical Grasslands (2006) Volume 40, 193–201

A review of current knowledge of the weedy species Themeda quadrivalvis (grader grass)

ANITA F. KEIR1,2 AND WAYNE D. VOGLER1

1 Tropical Weeds Research Centre, Department of Natural Resources and Water, Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia
2 Current address: Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, Palmerston, Northern Territory, Australia

Abstract

This review of grader grass (Themeda quadrivalvis) attempts to collate current knowledge and identify knowledge gaps that may require further research. Grader grass is a tropical annual grass native to India that is now spread throughout many of the tropical regions of the world. In Australia, it has spread rapidly since its introduction in the 1930s and is now naturalised in the tropical areas of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia and extends south along the east coast to northern New South Wales. It is a vigorous grass with limited palatability, that is capable of invading native and improved pastures, cropping land and protected areas such as state and national parks. Grader grass can form dense monocultures that reduce biodiversity, decrease animal productivity and increase the fire hazard in the seasonally dry tropics. Control options are based on herbicides, grazing management and slashing, while overgrazing appears to favour grader grass. The effect of fire on grader grass is inconclusive and needs to be defined. Little is known about the biology and impacts of grader grass in agricultural and protected ecosystems in Australia. In particular, information is needed on soil seed bank longevity, seed production, germination and growth, which would allow the development of management strategies to control this weedy grass.

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