Working to deal with thorny issue
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 last 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 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 roadsides 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 step-by-step guide, from understanding and identifying cacti, to developing and implementing a strategic approach to management and control,” she said.
Mr Coupar said staff were monitoring markets, Gumtree and nurseries to ensure cactus sellers were not selling a declared pest.
Biosecurity officer Glen Coupar and Priority Weed Response manager Kay Bailey with a prickly pear.