Prickly prob­lem

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes .com.au Sarah Brookes is a twotime WA Me­dia Awards win­ner in the sub­ur­ban re­port­ing cat­e­gory

IT’S a prickly prob­lem and now the com­mu­nity is be­ing mo­bilised to help stop the spread of cac­tus threat­en­ing agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries and the en­vi­ron­ment.

Cac­tus Month was launched on Wed­nes­day and Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment biose­cu­rity of­fi­cer Glen Coupar said the de­clared plant pest was ram­pant in the east­ern states and the Gold­fields.

“Here in Perth cacti are com­mon in the Perth Hills, par­tic­u­larly on old or­chard sites in Pick­er­ing Brook and Bick­ley, where Ital­ians planted In­dian figs to eat the fruit,” he said.

“In the Swan Val­ley prickly pear and In­dian figs are com­monly found on road sides and near old houses and have even in­fil­trated re­serves.”

To mark the start of Cac­tus Month, Agri­cul­ture and Food Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan launched a new man­ual on how to con­trol in­va­sive cacti, at a com­mu­nity event co-hosted with the City of Swan and the Shire of Mun­dar­ing.

The Man­ag­ing Opun­tioid Cacti in Aus­tralia man­ual pro­vides in­for­ma­tion on con­trol op­tions, bring­ing to­gether the ex­per­tise of gov­ern­ment, com­mu­nity groups and land man­agers across Aus­tralia.

Ms MacTier­nan urged land­hold­ers and com­mu­nity groups to spot, re­port and con­trol weedy cac­tus to stop in­fes­ta­tions from spread­ing.

“This man­ual pro­vides a fan­tas­tic re­source to help land­hold­ers boost their con­trol ef­forts, pre­sent­ing a stepby-step guide, from un­der­stand­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing cacti, through to de­vel­op­ing and im­ple­ment­ing a strate­gic ap­proach to man­age­ment and con­trol,” she said.

Mr Coupar said staff were mon­i­tor­ing mar­kets, Gumtree and nurs­eries to in­form cac­tus sell­ers were not sell­ing a de­clared pest.

“We are mak­ing sure peo­ple are aware of the prob­lem by con­duct­ing mar­ket in­spec­tions and ask­ing those sell­ing the pest plants on Gumtree to re­move their ads,” he said, adding that there are 27 species of cac­tus that are a de­clared pest.

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt

Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries biose­cu­rity of­fi­cer Glen Coupar and Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture pri­or­ity weed re­sponse man­ager Kay Bai­ley. d475838

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