Weeding out pests to be dealt with
ENVIRONMENTAL weeds are often garden or agricultural escapees that have the ability to invade our natural environment, leading to a reduction in biodiversity, impacts on the landscape, and a threat to our waterways to name a few.
These weeds now make up approximately 15% of Australia’s flora, with half of these invading our natural areas and a quarter now considered to be serious weeds.
A lot of these unwanted plants can still be found in our backyards and are often spread by birds attracted to their bright coloured berries, wind, garden prunnings being disposed of inappropriately, or agricultural plants that have not been properly managed.
While most are not declared pest plants, which are required to be controlled, some have been identified under state legislation such as Queensland’s Biosecurity Act 2014 as a restricted invasive plant or have been declared by councils under a local law, which may prevent their sale or require property owners to take certain action to control their spread.
Some of the ways you can help are:
■ Get to know the weeds in your local area by contacting your local council or speak to your local nursery.
■ Avoid planting invasive plants. Speak to your local nursery and choose safe alternatives such as sterile forms or plants native to your area.
■ Be careful when purchasing plants from fetes or markets if you are not sure where they originated from or their correct identification.
■ And consider weediness when swapping plants or propagating plants for others.
Plants of concern to the Bundaberg Regional Council, which have been identified to be increasing in large numbers, are Easter Cassia, Brazilian Cherry, Tecoma stan’s, Broadleaf Pepper, Prickly Duranta and the fodder shrub Leucaena which, when not managed, poses a major threat to our region’s natural areas and reserves.
To minimise potential risk caused by these plants the council will be undertaking an education and awareness program, as well as offering a free tree swap program where landholders can collect a free native plant in return for one of the environmental weeds listed above.
Council will also be undertaking a mapping program to identify locations of environmental weeds and landholders are able to register any pest plant sightings on the council’s natural resources, land protection web page by completing the suspected weed report form and returning it to the council.
For further information about control or removal of any environmental plant or participating in the council’s free tree swap program, contact the council’s land protection officers on 1300 883 699.
FIELD DAY: Bundaberg Regional Council senior land protection officer Eric Dyke encourages everyone to know their weeds.