'Hairy panic' as tumbleweed engulfs Australian homes

A fast-growing tumbleweed dubbed "hairy panic" has taken over a street in a rural Australian town with homes and gardens clogged with the weed.

Residents in Wangaratta, Victoria, have complained they have had to spent hours clearing away the weed only for it to come back the next day.

Extremely dry conditions and winds mean that the weed, with a Latin name of Panicum effusum, is engulfing homes sometimes up to roof height.

One resident Cherly Lengrand said she had spent eight hours cleaning out the tumbleweed from her garden only for it to return the following day.

The 'hairy' Panicum grows rapidly and forms tumbleweeds from the dead grass. Credit: RTV

The grass is found in every Australian state but a nearby farmer is being blamed for the outbreak accused of failing to tend to his paddock.

The weed, which is called "hairy" because of the long hairs along the edges of their leaves, can cause a potentially fatal condition called "yellow big head" in sheep if eaten in large quantities.

Australian authorities say they are unable to help with the clean-up because the tumbleweeds, made up of dead grass and seeds, do not pose a fire threat.