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

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.

giant_devils_fig_seedling

“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 .…

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 .…