How to effectively kill Lantana

Lantana Bush Image - Noxious Weed

If you’ve experienced an ongoing lantana or woody weed problem on your property that you’re having difficulty controlling, you’re not alone. Lantana is regarded as one of the worst woody weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and its economic and environmental impacts on regional and productive agricultural areas. Lantana, like many woody weeds, is toxic to livestock and reduces profitability to landholders by regularly out-competing pastures and increasing mustering costs.

What is Lantana?

The term ‘Lantana’ actually refers to a genus composed of about 150 perennial flowering plants. It is an introduced species to Australia, considered to be invasive and noxious. The two main varieties of Lantana in Australia are a cultivated form planted in gardens, and a destructive woody weedy variety found in bushland, roadsides, nature strips, and pastures.

Lantana flowers whenever the soil is moist and the air is warm and humid. Along the Queensland and New South Wales coastal regions, this results in almost continuous flowering and fruiting. Further inland, peak flowering occurs several weeks after soaking rain (25 mm or more) and is usually accompanied by a good fruit set.

Why is Lantana difficult to eradicate?

Lantana has certain characteristics that make it very tricky to eradicate. It has very dense, impenetrable thickets that can take over land and pastures rapidly if not treated and monitored regularly. Lantana competes for resources and reduces the productivity of pastures. It adds fuel to fires and is toxic to some stock. Lantana can also release a natural chemical into the surrounding soil which prevents germination and competition from some other plant species.

Further adding to the headaches around lantana, the plant can resprout from the base if the shoot dies, extending the life of individual plants; the seeds themselves can remain viable for several years under natural conditions.

 It is not surprising that in fact, it is listed as one of the most impactful environmental weeds across many local government areas.

Why are herbicides effective in controlling Lantana?

Herbicides are an effective way to control lantana and there are many to choose from. Knowledge of the variety of herbicides can assist in the most cost-effective result. Investment in control can achieve good returns for landholders:

  • Herbicides that control lantana will increase the carrying capacity of the land being treated.
  • Herbicides also minimise the disturbance of natural vegetation and soil which minimises germination and invasion of other weeds

Herbicides can provide a selective approach to control. Some selective herbicides do not impact on pastures or eucalypt trees. Some herbicides have residual capacity to help control new lantana seedlings, providing an opportunity for pastures to grow. Other herbicides are useful in sensitive vegetation areas that break down immediately in the soil. This must be considered before undertaking any herbicide treatment.

How to apply herbicides for treating Lantana

The main application technique is spraying the entire plant (foliar spraying), which usually kills plants that are less than 2 metres high, however it is important that the plant is completely saturated with herbicide to ensure an effective kill. 

For larger plants, herbicides applied to the lower bark of the stems or immediately painted onto freshly cut stumps prove to be the most effective.

The trouble with both of these techniques is that they can be time-consuming as they require treatment of each stem, and stems can be difficult to access in large stands of lantana. It is because of this that we recommend our customers treat Lantana early, before the noxious weed becomes too thick and difficult to control.

Herbicides are absorbed into the sap system through contact with the leaves and root system of the lantana plant. Spraying the foliage is a common method of application. To support the efficacy of the herbicide, Specialist Sales also recommends a good penetrant be used in conjunction with the herbicide to help force the herbicide into the plant. Lantana leaves are hairy and rough, and herbicide contact can be less effective without a penetrant supporting the herbicide to stick to the leaves.

What are the best herbicides for controlling Lantana?

There are many herbicides registered for lantana control sold through Specialist Sales, including a number of branded and generic, selective and non-selective herbicides that treat lantana for each specific application method. 

The most popular lantana controlling herbicides include:

Grazon Extra: The trio combination of Triclopyr, Picloram and Aminopyralid in this herbicide makes it effective against a range of woody weeds, and is available in several pack sizes.

Herbicides that contain the active ingredients like Aminopyralid and Fluroxypyr are also very effective against Lantana. This combination of products is of course effective against other woody weeds as well.

The active ingredient Aminopyralid is what makes these two products particularly effective. A pyridine carboxylic, Aminopyralid is used as a selective, post-emergent herbicide to control key broadleaf weeds. It is a new generation active ingredient that is effective at very low rates when compared with other herbicides. When combined with other ingredients, such as Triclopyr and Picloram, the power on Lantana is magnified. 

Hatchet , Raizon or Woody Herbicides: These are both Triclopyr and Picloram containing herbicides; in effect the same product, but under different brands.

Glyphosate: We stock a range of Glyphosate containing herbicides, available as granules and liquid, in a variety of pack sizes. 

Lantana DP 600: Provides integrated control of lantana and other woody weeds. The active ingredient is Dichlorprop, present as the Potassium Salt. It is recommended to be applied to actively growing lantana plants for effective control.  This herbicide is very selective and is particularly necessary when there are susceptible non-target species nearby.

Products to boost the power of your herbicides

Apart from using straight out herbicides, you can use a range of other products to boost the effectiveness of your base herbicides. Here is a list of the most commonly used boosters:

Metsulfuron: When used with Aminopyralid, Triclopyr or Picloram, Metsulfuron provides the ultimate potent Lantana killing spike. Especially effective when these three active ingredients are combined together and then further mixed with Metsulfuron.

Probe or Eurochem Penetrants (Polyether Modified Polysiloxane): these products ‘stick’ the spray droplet to the leaf as well as spread it for maximum coverage.  The blend of Adjuvants and Surfactants in these products force the active ingredient through the leaf, ensuring it ends up in the sap flow and eventually into the root system. 

Marker Dye: While not a booster per se, marker dyes show you where you are going, which means you end up spraying just the right amount, where you need it. 

Can we help you with any questions?

Of course, our Specialist Sales team is always available to talk with customers about the most effective way to eradicate Lantana on their property, and we guarantee that if we can’t save you money, we don’t deserve your business.

Don't miss our deals or news - sign up now