Victorian Gorse Control Strategy

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce implements the Victorian Gorse Control Strategy 2014–2019. The strategy aims to raise awareness of the need to control gorse and to support people and communities to reduce gorse across local landscapes.

The Gorse Control Strategy is consistent with the Victorian Invasive Plants and Animals Policy Framework and the objectives of the National Gorse Priority Action Framework.

Present distribution of gorse

Potential distribution of gorse

Gorse is one of Australia’s worst weeds

Gorse is a listed Weed of National Significance. It was introduced in the 1800s as a hedge plant but quickly became one of our most invasive and destructive weeds.

The dense evergreen gorse shrub can grow to several metres high and wide. It has deep and extensive roots, very prickly stems and it thrives in areas with low rainfall.

The yellow flower of gorse is easily seen across Victoria’s rural landscapes during warmer months.

Gorse can spread easily

Gorse produces huge numbers of seeds in grey hairy pods. A mature infestation of gorse can produce up to 6 million seeds per hectare each year.

These can spread up to 5 metres from the shrub each year. Vehicle tyres, animals and even birds can also spread seeds. Gorse along the river and creek banks is spread easily by the water and can clog a waterway in a short time.

Gorse seeds are so tough they can remain dormant in the soil for up to 30 years. That’s why you always need to be vigilant with gorse – when you see it, tackle it.

Get on to gorse early

Once gorse is established, it’s very difficult to eradicate. The earlier you tackle it the better.

Community-led action against gorse always works best. Local people and communities across Victoria have shown how to successfully tackle gorse by sharing their knowledge and experience.

A community-led gorse campaign means that local people set the priorities for action in their area, and they work in partnership with public land managers and others to get the best results.

Getting rid of gorse usually takes a combination of spraying with herbicides, clearing the shrubs with machinery and slashing the roots. Biological agents can also help. Vigilance is required for years as seeds can lie dormant in the soil for decades.

The most effective ways to tackle Gorse are explained in the National Best Practice Manual for Gorse Control.