Skip to content

Tradescantia (wandering willie)

Tradescantia (wandering willie)

Updated 5 May 2020 4:15pm

If your dog has been running in an overgrown area and comes back scratching, chances are it might have encountered tradescantia.

Credit: Weedbusters

‘Tradescantia is an abundant and well known invasive pest plant in our region.  Always start weeding it out from the highest point it is growing at, and bear in mind that if you or your neighbours have chickens - apparently they love it!  If you leave it to rot down under black plastic, it is said to form a very nutritious compost, as long as it is well and truly rotted down.’

Katrina Merrifield, Biosecurity Advisor at GWRC

Why is it bad?

Tradescantia is a major problem under trees and in bush reserves.

It spreads over the forest floor, covering the ground so that nothing else can grow and is very hard to get rid of.

It can also intensify flooding on riverbanks and causes allergic responses in dogs.

How to tackle it

We control tradescantia in our region's Key Native Ecosystems to protect each site’s unique plants and animals. You can control this pest on your property with these methods:

  • Rake and roll up
    Working from the top of the area downwards, and from the edges to the centre, rake and roll up the matted growth. This will reduce the amount that needs to be sprayed.
  • Remove from the area
    Dispose of all of the weed at a refuse transfer station. Watch out for dropped fragments that will spread and regrow.
  • Spray
    Follow up with a triclopyr or glyphosate-based spray with a penetrant to stick to the shiny foliage. Repeat spray within two to three months before the plants recover. At least two or three sprays are needed for total control. Exclude livestock at all times during spraying.

How to stop it coming back

Once the area is fully clear, plant and mulch to minimise regrowth and support local biodiversity – the plants and animals that naturally occur in the area.

If herbicides have been used, read the label for information about when to replant.

Check for regrowth at least every 4 months and continue to clear and spray if needed.

More information