Button grass can be a pain in the butt!
Button grass (Dactyloctenium radulans) sounds kind of cute, but that’s not always the case! It’s a native species found throughout Australia and is a common summer weed species.
Like most summer grass weeds it depletes soil moisture and nutrients, reducing the yield potential of the subsequent crop. Summer weeds also act as a green bridge for crop pests and disease.
The rapid emergence and growth of button grass after rainfall makes it important for the Australian plague locust.
It can be a valuable pasture species in arid areas, although overgrazing of button grass (green or dry plants) in stockyards can result in nitrate-nitrite toxicity in sheep and cattle.
Further, toxicity from prussic acid can result in the field when hungry stock are exposed to lush growth. However, dry plants are rarely toxic in the field. Button grass is difficult to control, as the stressed, dusty plants are poorly responsive to herbicides.