Controlling weeds

There are many different techniques for removing and controlling weeds.

Before taking any action, you should first assess your situation to determine the best method of removal. You should also consider how your actions might affect any animals that use the weeds for habitat. 

Your first step in controlling weeds is to attempt to remove the parent plant that may be spreading seeds. If weeds can be killed where they stand, it will save you from having to remove the weeds and dispose of them.

Ensure you have the right tools and safety equipment for removing weeds. Typically these include:

  • Protective clothing (gloves, eye protection, long sleeves and long pants)
  • Dabber bottle containing a registered herbicide
  • Trowel or knife (for digging out weeds by the roots)
  • Saw, secateurs, loppers (for the cut and paint method)
  • Drill, chisel, axe (for drill and fill, frilling and chipping methods)
  • Bags (for removing weeds from the site)

Weed removal methods

Using herbicide

When using herbicide, consider the time of year and the growing stage of the plant.

Most plants should be treated with herbicide when they are actively growing. Deciduous plants that lose their leaves seasonally should be treated in late spring or summer while they are in full leaf.

Bulbous plants should be treated before they flower.

Drill and fill, frilling and chipping

Drill and fill, frilling and chipping methods are suitable for woody weeds larger than 7.5cm in diameter.

To remove weeds using this method:

  1. Make a 45 degree hole, 2-3cm deep, as far down at the base of the tree as possible. Holes can be created using a drill, or by hitting a chisel into the tree.

  2. Fill the hole immediately with a registered herbicide.

  3. Repeat this process at intervals of 3cm around the entire base of the tree.

  4. If there are exposed roots, drill and fill these as well.

  5. For frilling, use an axe to chip around the base of the tree (not too deep as you don’t want to ringbark it).

  6. Place herbicide into the cuts, being careful not to spill or use too much herbicide.

Cut and paint

The cut and paint method is suitable for small to medium sized woody weeds up to 7.5cm in diameter.

To control weeds using this method:

  1. Gently clear away any vegetation from the treatment site.

  2. Using secateurs, loppers or a hand saw, cut the stem of the plant as close to the ground as possible.

  3. Using a dabber bottle containing a registered herbicide, paint the stump immediately (within 20 seconds) so that the plant draws the poison into its root system.


Remove by hand

Removing weeds by hand is suitable for seedlings, herbaceous weeds and many grasses.

When using this method to control weeds, all root matter should be removed to avoid the plant sprouting again.

If the plant is seeding, either cut off the seed heads or place a bag over them. This should reduce the spread of the seed.

For plants that have long tap roots or bulbs, use a trowel or a long knife to assist with loosening the soil.

Be sure to cover any exposed soil with organic matter to reduce future weed growth.

Stem and leaf swiping

Stem and leaf swiping is suitable for herbaceous plants with bulbs, tubers or corms.

To control weeds using this method you should:

  • Use a dabber bottle and swipe the stems and leaves
  • Use a tool such as secateurs or a knife to assist you

Identifying weeds

Agriculture Victoria has an extensive list of noxious weeds and tips on removing them available online.

View Agriculture Victoria's weeds list

We have also identified a list of environmental weeds that cause problems in our bushland reserves and resident's gardens. For more information about environmental weeds, download the Environmental Weeds in the Yarra Ranges flyer.(PDF, 3MB)

Disposing weeds

Weed disposal methods include:


Composting is not suitable for seed heads and species which can take root.

Organic waste bin

Weeds disposed in an organic waste bin are superheated to prevent resprouting.

Roadside green waste collection

Dispose of weeds through your roadside green waste collection only if your weeds are bundled woody stems.


Before burning off, find out what burning off restrictions apply in your area.

View burning off restrictions

Dispose at a tip

Dispose of weeds at a tip green waste pile or landfill if it contains seeds heads or species which can take root.

View tip locations

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Weed Wipeout program

The Weed Wipeout program helps people dispose of environmental weeds by providing them with a tip voucher.

Weed Wipeout tip vouchers are only available for specific weed species.

Eligible environmental weeds

  • English Ivy
  • Blue Periwinkle
  • Montbretia
  • Agapanthus
  • Wandering Trad
  • Japanese Honeysuckle
  • Wild Tobacco Tree
  • Arum Lily
  • Cape Ivy
  • Banana Passionfruit
  • Spanish Heath
  • Red Cestrum
  • Spear Thistle

Eligible woody weeds

The Weed Wipeout program can also be used to dispose of woody weeds. Please note that if you wish to dispose woody weeds, only foliage and smaller branches will be accepted. Clean tree branches and limbs can be bundled and put out for bundled branch collection.

Eligible woody weeds include:

  • Ceder Wattle
  • Sweet Pittosporum
  • Cape Wattle
  • Cherry Laurel
  • Holly
  • Sycamore Maple
  • Desert Ash
  • Cotoneaster 
  • Mirrorbush
  • Privet


Apply for a Weed Wipeout tip voucher

Common Weed Factsheets

Information and tips on how to remove common weeds in Yarra Ranges.

View the information sheets

Weed webinars and videos

 We'll be sharing video content related to weeds here. Stay tuned for future uploads!

Environmental Weed Management - Ecological Concepts and Principles with Dr Graeme Lorimer

Environmental Weed Management - Setting Priorities with Dr Graeme Lorimer

Environmental Weed Control Webinar - Live Panel Discussion

Common weeds of the Yarra Ranges


How we manage weeds on public land

Managing weeds on Council land is a complex issue, where no singular approach works for every location and every species of weed.

Council's primary method of treating weeds is mechanical - brush cutting and mulching - with hand-weeding in some cases. 

We continue to use glyphosate and other chemicals, only when there is no viable alternative to chemical-based weed treatment.

Examples of non-chemical weed treatment Council uses and investigates

  • Certified organic herbicides are regularly being tested by our Urban Parks Team.
    So far, we've had limited success in controlling weeds, and the products come at a significantly higher cost, with more frequent spray runs.
  • Weed steaming has been investigated and trialled, but with limited success. Access issues and heavy water use are major issues in this method, and the cost is significantly higher than other treatment options. A Deakin University study found that steam treatment caused alterations to soil microbe populations, reducing microbial diversity, and recommended it’s use on hard surfaces, such as concrete paths and carparks.
  • Microwave weeding technology is being developed by Melbourne University, using microwave heating to destroy weeds and their seeds in the soil. This method is still in development, but appears to be successful and cost-effective in dry locations.
  • Traditional manual works, such as hand-weeding, brush-cutting and reach mowing have increased in our programming, and are effective weed control methods.
  • Goats have been trialled in bushland areas, with limited success due to damage to native vegetation. This option has been great for use in sites with heavy weed loads and less native vegetation present. However, many locations are not suitable due to access and fencing requirements.
  • We're also investigating biological weed control and burning, and are always investigating options to manage weeds more effectively.

Examples of when we use chemicals to treat weeds

  • Large woody weeds, such as Sycamore Maple and English Holly, require targeted chemical treatment on stumps when cut down, otherwise they can grow back into a sprouting thicket and become more difficult to manage.
  • Climbing vines, particularly English Ivy and Japanese Honeysuckle. require cutting and painting to prevent choking or smothering of native plants and trees.
  • Some grassy weeds such as Couch and Kikuyu, which root hard to the ground, are difficult to remove by hand. We use chemical-based treatments to dispose of these weeds and prevent them from encroaching into bushland, playgrounds and garden beds.

When using glyphosate, Council staff always adhere to label instructions and guidelines from WorkSafe and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

There is careful consideration of weather conditions, signage for the public and timing of application and dilution of weed treatments, to ensure no chemical contact with the community or with Council staff.

To ensure these guidelines are met, we regularly audit staff and contractors applying chemicals and provide regular, extensive training and familiarisation with personal protective equipment (PPE) and relevant Safe Work Method Statements.

Glyphosate is deemed safe to use according to label instructions.

However, we're committed to reducing chemical use wherever possible and will proactively investigate, trial and research alternatives as they become available.

We encourage community members with more questions to contact our Weed Management Officer by email or by calling 1300 368 333 during business hours.