Cotton Bush

As a seedling, cotton bush is bright green and soft. It develops a woody stem as it matures reaching over two meters in height and produces white flowers.

Cotton bush seeds are small, brown, and have a tuft of white hairs. The seeds are held within distinctive pods that burst open when matured. Each pod can hold over 300 seeds which are spread via wind, water, stock, and machinery.

Cotton bush can be toxic to stock when collected in hay and the seeds can cause irritation to the eyes for both live stock and humans.

Young plants can be controlled by mowing or physical removal. Slashing of mature plants must be followed up with chemical control to prevent reshooting.

Disturbing or clearing the soil can result in repeated germination events.

Management calendar

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Control options for Cotton Bush.


Due to legal requirements the PHBG does not recommend specific herbicides.

Please follow the links below to specific chemical control options for cotton bush.


Cotton bush can be physically removed at all stages of growth.

When young, cotton bush can be pulled relatively easily, use gloves to prevent the milky sap from causing irritation.

When plants are mature and flowering they can be hand pulled and left to rot above ground.

Prevent reshooting by shaking off heavy soil load on the roots.

If the plants are podding then remove the pods and the mature plants can then be removed from the soil.

Pods can be placed in a plastic bag to prevent seed spread, burnt or deep buried.

Large mature plants can be removed easily by hiring a weedy tree puller from the PHBG.


No biological control agent has been developed for this weed.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development have a compliance program that runs annually. Landholders that aren't managing their cotton bush can be issued with a pest control notice that requires them to control cotton bush to an acceptable level. Failure to control cotton bush can lead to the Department using a contractor to do the work with costs covered by the landholder.

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group have priority areas defined every year from which the compliance properties are taken.