‘Hairy panic’ invades homes: 'I couldn't use the front door'
AN AUSTRALIAN homeowner has said her property is so overwhelmed by a plague of exotic grass she thinks it has a mind of its own after numerous efforts to contain it have meant it "relocated" in her yard at whim.
Leanne Gloury, of Laceby in northeast Victoria, said she is out of ideas over how to get rid of a species tumbleweed from her home after posting images on social media asking for help. The plague of the grass is so out of control it forced the closure of the town's main road as it migrated across its path.
The road was so heavily populated with the grass that "cars were being lost in the tumbleweed", Wangaratta Mayor Ken Clarke told news.com.au.
The weed is a constant problem for the area while another form of the grass, known as Hillman's panic - a species which was introduced from southern America - is reported to be spreading across NSW from Victoria and South Australia.
Ms Gloury told news.com.au the grass is so light it spreads quickly but there's "nothing you can do" once it starts moving
"Maybe I'm missing something, maybe there's a way you can get rid of this, maybe I'm attacking it the wrong way? Maybe someone has come across this before and knows a way.
"I could have cried in the beginning," she said. "I didn't want to deal with it. I'm not beating it at all."
Laceby residents have been left to fend for themselves as the tumbleweed, otherwise known, quite appropriately, as "hairy panic", has been slowly taking over properties after an outbreak that has lasted since January.
"It just blows and it grows. It piles on top of each other," Ms Gloury told news.com.au.
"As it gets heavier, the tumbleweed must intertwine with each other. My daughter and I literally had to push through the tumbleweed to find our rubbish bin. We had a wheelie bin under there somewhere. You couldn't just walk through it and it moved away, you had to push through it."
Ms Gloury told news.com.au that after going public with her problem last week the grass has remained "much the same" but instead it now "moves" and "relocates" throughout her property.
"I would go to work, and it would be all over the front lawn, but as soon as I got home it would have jumped up across the veranda," Ms Gloury said.
"It moves, when the wind or breeze comes it moves. It kept relocating itself, but now it is increasing."
She said she started taking photos of the plague on Valentine's Day but then the tumbleweed takeover got progressively worse and hit its peak "a week-and-a-half ago".
"That's when it had completely taken over. I couldn't use the front door - I had to use a remote controlled garage door to get inside."
Ms Gloury explained that in the dry season, the grass breaks off and blows away leaving little seeds everywhere, "so wherever it blows, it plants and seeds and reappears".
"Put it this way, when it gets in your house it's very hard to vacuum up."
Ms Gloury said she had experienced a similar epidemic in 2016 when at least 20 houses were hit at a new estate which was built next to farm land in the area, but had not seen "anything as bad as this".
She said that after trying numerous options to rid her property of the problematic panic, she's out of ideas.
"I tried raking it, sweeping it, but with a bit of wind, off it would go again.
"I tried mowing it, I got my ride-on and I went up the driveway but it blocked up the blades.
"Of course what happened was the mower just stopped, it was near on impossible to pull the grass out of the blades. I thought it was a waste of time.
"All it did was put a dint in the tumbleweed and condense it down to become quite thick.
"I bought a blower from Bunnings because I thought I could blow it off the veranda.
"It worked the first night, I could move on the veranda, but over the next day or two the blower was no longer sufficient. I came home one night and the tumbleweed just wasn't blowing or moving."
Mr Clarke told news.com.au there was no easy solution to the tumbleweed plague and that eventually, Mother Nature should take its course.
"I went and had a look at the premises - yes there was a bit of tumbleweed there," he said.
"There's no easy way to get rid of it. It's just something that happens."
Mr Clarke said the only possibility to get rid of the weed was the council's street sweeper that would "suck it up".
"That's a possibility if it hasn't dispersed by this stage," he said.