Growth Habit: Erect, up to 1m but usually smaller. Leaves alternate, triangular, apex pointed, margin toothed.
Type of Plant: Fat Hen is a fast-growing erect annual. Germination generally occurs in Spring and Autumn, and will also occur in Summer where suitable rainfall or irrigation is present.
Flowers: Greyish – green, forming in clusters.
Cotyledons: Narrow-oval, apex round, hairless.
Fruit/Seed: Large quantities of small green to grey seeds are produced.
Dispersal: Seeds are readily dispersed by soil movement. Wind may also move seeds small distances from the parent.
Distribution: Fat Hen is a widespread weed throughout Tasmania, occurring in home gardens, horticultural and agricultural crops, and waste areas. It frequently invades new pastures.
Status: Chenopodium album is not a declared weed under the Noxious Weeds Act 1964.
- Fat Hen can compete vigorously with seedlings and establishing crops. Infestations may be very dense and can severely reduce harvest quantities.
- Several generations may occur in one season due to the plant’s quick growth and seed production abilities.
- Manual removal, particularly whilst plants are young, is effective as fat hen generally produces a shallow root system.
- Mulching is an excellent method to prevent germinating seeds from establishing.
- Cultivation may be useful, again as the plant’s shallow root system is easily dislodged from the soil and the plant quickly dries out in warm weather.
- Several herbicides are registered for use in Tasmania including glyphosate, MCPA, bromoxynil, glufosinate and 2,4-D. Note: All 2,4-D products may be used without restriction from 15th April to 15th Sept, however use outside of these times requires a permit available through the Registrar of Pesticides, DPIWE. Ph: 131368.
N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.