Coun­cil weeds out the prob­lem

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

One of Aus­tralia’s worst weeds has been found near Mathoura.

And lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are act­ing fast on erad­i­ca­tion be­fore it spreads any fur­ther.

Cen­tral Mur­ray County Coun­cil se­nior biose­cu­rity of­fi­cer for weeds Jar­rod Guy found about 20 mesquite plants on Mathoura Line Rd, 30km north of Moama, ear­lier this month while car­ry­ing out road in­spec­tions.

‘‘I am in­ves­ti­gat­ing a few prop­er­ties and hope it’s not there,’’ he said.

Mesquite is a weed of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance and is re­garded as one of the worst weeds in Aus­tralia be­cause of its in­va­sive­ness, po­ten­tial for spread and eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts.

‘‘A ma­ture plant can pro­duce up to 260,000 seeds in a life­time,’’ Mr Guy said.

‘‘An­i­mals eat the sweet seed pods and spread the seeds that way.

‘‘It’s one of the hard­est weeds to get rid of. There was an in­fes­ta­tion in Jer­ilderie 15 years ago and it’s trav­elled 200km to here.

‘‘If we don’t con­trol this weed, it will dev­as­tate crops, agri­cul­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment. We don’t want it to cross the bor­der into Vic­to­ria.’’

Mr Guy said plants av­er­aged about 4m in height but could grow up to 15m high.

Cen­tral Mur­ray County Coun­cil weeds of­fi­cers have cut the mesquite plants and ap­plied a chem­i­cal paste to the ex­posed stems to poi­son the plants.

Mur­ray River Coun­cil parks and open spa­ces man­ager Luke Keogh said this was the first iden­ti­fied out­break of the in­va­sive weed within the lo­cal coun­cil area.

‘‘While the weed is of con­cern, coun­cil hopes it is an iso­lated in­fes­ta­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘Fur­ther in­spec­tions around the site are be­ing con­ducted to en­sure no other plants have ger­mi­nated and the site has been re­ported to New South Wales DPI as part of the leg­isla­tive re­quire­ments when mesquite is iden­ti­fied.’’

Mr Keogh en­cour­aged landown­ers to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with the plant and check their prop­er­ties.

‘‘The mesquite plant is very sim­i­lar to lo­cal aca­cia species and un­der­stand­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the plant will as­sist with iden­ti­fi­ca­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘If they find or sus­pect they have iden­ti­fied a mesquite plant they should re­port it im­me­di­ately to the lo­cal con­trol au­thor­ity, Cen­tral Mur­ray Coun­cil in the Moama and Mur­ray wards or to coun­cil’s weeds of­fi­cers in the Wakool ward.’’

He said coun­cil would be work­ing with all weed con­trol agen­cies and landown­ers to pro­vide ad­vice and man­age­ment ser­vices to help iden­tify and erad­i­cate this highly in­va­sive plant species.

‘‘As with any in­va­sive weed, a joint ef­fort is re­quired to max­imise ef­fec­tive con­trol,’’ he said.

‘‘If res­i­dents be­lieve they have lo­cated a mesquite plant, they should ad­vise coun­cil to ar­range an in­spec­tion.’’

ABOVE: Cen­tral Mur­ray’s Jar­rod Guy (left) and Matt Wooden and Mur­ray River Coun­cil's Luke Keogh and Ge­off Wise in front of the mesquite weed, found near Mathoura. It is re­garded as one of the worst weeds in Aus­tralia.

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