Weed officers get to know their enemy

Weed officers get to know their enemy

Sixteen weed-control officers travelled to South-East Queensland last week to learn more about the newest threats to the NSW North Coast.

The trip was organised by the North Coast Weeds Advisory Committee (NCWAC) and focussed on highly invasive species which have been found around Brisbane or the Gold Coast but have not established south of the border.

Weed-control officers see the enemy in real life.

The group also learned about the strategies and techniques which have been the most successful in controlling these weeds.

Philip Courtney, from NCWAC, said the opportunity to see these weeds in real life was invaluable, giving weed-control officers a greater ability to detect and control any incursions as quickly as possible.

“Prevention is always better than cure and a key priority in weed management is keeping out species that we know can become serious problems,” Mr Courtney said.

“This means knowing what they look like and the sorts of locations where they may appear. Our staff are constantly on the look-out for these weeds so we can control them before they become widespread.

“Anyone in the community can also help to protect the North Coast region by being aware of high-priority species and reporting any suspected outbreaks to their local control authority.”

Information about high-priority weed species can be found on the Look Learn Act website, www.looklearnact.com .

A Big Thank You to the following businesses that helped contribute:

Westline Electricians Perth

Bobcat Hire in Perth – Balcatta Bobcats

Concept Concreters Perth WA

Top plant pests are gazetted

Top plant pests are gazetted

Tropical Soda Apple and Cockspur Coral Tree are among more than 30 plants which have been gazetted as noxious weeds across the North Coast.

The NSW government recently gazetted Weed Control Order 30. This order adds new species to the list of noxious weeds and changes the classification of some existing noxious weed species.

North Coast Weeds Advisory Committee (NCWAC) secretary Reece Luxton said the gazettal would allow local weed-control authorities to step up action to control these highly invasive species.

Mr Luxton said the new weed-control order was put together after consultation with local control authorities, stakeholders and the public from around NSW.

“These changes will help to ensure that control authorities and land owners are taking the most important actions to minimise the negative impacts of invasive weeds on the economy, environment and communities,” Mr Luxton said.

“I encourage everyone to spend a few moments becoming familiar with the new lists for their area.  The NCWAC, Look Learn Act, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ websites are all great sources of information on these weeds.”

Noxious weeds in NSW are divided into five classes, according to the nature of the threat and the control strategies that can be used against them:

  • Classes 1 and 2 include species which have not yet invaded NSW. Any occurrences of these plants must be reported to the local control authority, and land owners are required to eradicate and keep their land free of them. For class 1 these conditions apply statewide, for class 2 they apply in specified local-government areas (LGAs).
  • Class 3 lists weeds which have established to an extent, but whose area and impact can be reduced. They must be fully and continuously destroyed in certain LGAs, and some are also prohibited from sale or distribution.
  • Class 4 weeds are those which have established, but for which the aim is to minimise the negative impacts. They must be controlled in certain LGAs according to the measures specified in the weed control order.
  • The aim of Class 5 is to prevent any further spread of the listed species  These weeds are notifiable across the State.

New additions to Class 1 include Bridal Veil Creeper, Frogbit/Spongeplant, Tropical Soda Apple and Boneseed.

Across the North Coast region, Class 2 now also includes Asparagus Fern, Bellyache Bush, Cecropia species, Climbing Aasparagus, Grey Sallow, Paper Mulberry, Long-leaf Willow Primrose (except in Nambucca where it is Class 1), Ming Asparagus Fern and Sicklethorn.

Class 3 now includes Mahonia, Montpellier Broom/Cape broom, White Blackberry/Mysore Raspberry and Giant Devil’s Fig for all LGAs on the North Coast.

Cat’s Claw Creeper has been added to Class 3 in Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Nambucca LGAs, and to Class 4 in Clarence Valley and Far North Coast Weeds areas.

Cockspur Coral Tree has been added to Class 3, except in the LGAs covered by Far North Coast Weeds, where it is a Class 4.

Bitou Bush is now Class 3 in the Tweed LGA, but remains Class 4 in the rest of the region.

New additions to Class 4 in all North Coast LGAs include other Asparagus species, Blackberry, Black Willow (previously Class 3 in Bellingen and Clarence Valley LGAs), Flax-leaf Broom and Giant Reed/Elephant Grass.

Madeira Vine is now a Class 4 weed in the Clarence Valley LGA.

Mother-of-millions has been added to Class 4 across the region, except in Clarence Valley LGA, where it remains a Class 3.

Chinese Celtis and East Indian Hygrophila are now in Class 4 in LGAs covered by Far North Coast Weeds, but remain in Class 3 for other North Coast LGAs.

Information about these and other weeds, and their control methods, can be found under the Weeds tab on this website, or at the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ website, http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pests-weeds/weeds/definition .

The complete list of noxious weeds in all classes in Weed Control Order 30 can be found at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/410059/weed-control-order.pdf.

Giant Devil’s Fig spreads to Coffs region

Giant Devil’s Fig spreads to Coffs region

Following a report by a member of staff, Coffs Harbour City Council officers discovered Giant Devil’s Fig plants growing along a roadside near Coffs Harbour last week.

The officers immediately removed the many plants, found in two separate locations and ranging in size from small seedlings to large adults.

Coffs Harbour City Council senior weeds inspector Alan Wray said it was the first detection of Giant Devil’s Fig recorded at Coffs Harbour.


“We are seeking the assistance of community members to play their part in protecting the rich biodiversity of the region,” Mr Wray said.

“The seriousness of the threat to our bushland cannot be overstated. We share a similar climate to the other locations in the world where this plant has devastated the natural environment.

“Due to the size of the plants, we know there will be more in the area and we need the assistance of our community to find them.”

Giant Devil’s Fig (Solanum chrysotrichum) is a native of Central America and was introduced to the Far North Coast of New South Wales about 35 years ago.

It has been spread extensively by birds and bats to become one of the most serious weed threats on the North Coast.

A member of the Solanaceae family, it is a tall perennial shrub, three metres to four metres high, with a similar growth habit to wild tobacco.

It has thorns similar to a rose plant and long distinct rusty coloured hairy stems and petioles.

The broad ovate lobed leaves finish in a distinct point.  The leaves are hairy on the underside.  The fruit is similar to wild tobacco.

Anyone knowing the location of Giant Devil’s Fig plants is encouraged to contact Coffs Harbour City Council on 6648 4880.  Alternatively, people can report the weed on our Report a Weed form or via www.looklearnact.com .

For more information on Giant Devil’s Fig and other high-priority weeds in the area, view its listing in our weeds database, see our Brochures page or www.looklearnact.com .…

Weed of National Significance found in region

Weed of National Significance found in region

pond-apple-fruitA new Class 1 plant, Pond Apple (Annona glabra), has been detected on the Far North Coast of NSW.

It is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia due to its invasiveness, potential for spread, economic impact and environmental impact.

Before this discovery, there were no known infestations of Pond Apple in NSW.

The weed has already had devastating effects on the wet tropic bioregion of Far North Queensland where it has invaded more than 2000 hectares of environmentally valuable mangrove forest.

Pond Apple can form dense thickets which can exclude most (or all) native plant species.  Its ability to grow in flooded areas and to tolerate salt water has enabled it to spread through much of northern Queensland’s wet tropics area.  The weed continues to threaten extensive wetland areas, including mangrove communities.

From an economic perspective, Pond Apple also threatens the agricultural and pastoral sectors of Australia by growing in and along creeks, fence lines and farm drains on the north-eastern coast.


The weed was originally introduced into Australia as grafting stock for the closely related custard apple.  It has previously been discovered growing as far south as Brisbane.

As Pond Apple has not been discovered in the region before, it is important to manage any infestations before it can have an impact on our region.

If you suspect you have found a Pond Apple infestation, please report it using our Report A Weed form or via www.looklearnact.com, contact your local council or call 02 6623 3866.



Red Witchweed found on cane farm

Red Witchweed found on cane farm

Last week Red Witchweed was found growing in a sugarcane crop, at Mackay, in Queensland.

Red Witchweed, a class 1 weed in Queensland and New South Wales, is a serious pest, which, in some cases, can stop the growth of sugarcane, cereal crops and legumes.

This is the first outbreak in Australia, however it could easily grow in our region and wreak havoc.

While the weed has been confirmed on one property, information to date suggests that the infestation may be on a small number of other properties in the immediate area.

Biosecurity Queensland has placed movement restrictions on the cane farm where the weed was confirmed.

Red witchweed (Striga asiatica) is a parasitic plant which grows attached to the roots of a ‘host’ plant. The weed then robs its host of water and nutrients, suppressing its growth.

The weed grows 20 cm to 40 cm tall and is distinguished from native species of witchweed by the calyx, which has 10 ribs. Native species have calyces with five ribs.

Leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem. They are 6 mm-40 mm long and 1 mm-4 mm wide and have a tapered pointed tip.

Flowers are 5 mm-20 mm long and are usually red, but can be white, yellow or pink. Seeds are very small and remain viable in the soil for up to 15 years.

Land holders in Northern NSW are urged to report any suspect weeds to Far North Coast Weeds on 6623 3847

Further information on Red Witchweed is available at www.daff.qld.gov.au .…