Vigilance urged against declared weeds

Vigilance urged against declared weeds

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Cotton bush found near Mundijong Road in the Peel region.

Cotton bush found near Mundijong Road in the Peel region.

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Landholders asked to keep an eye out for cotton bush and apple of Sodom.

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This summer the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) is asking landholders to keep an eye out for cotton bush and apple of Sodom.

Both are declared weeds that threaten agricultural productivity, environmental values and rural amenity.

They are toxic, invasive, restrict movement through the landscape and offer shelter to feral animals such as pigs, foxes and rabbits.

There are various ways to control cotton bush and apple of Sodom.

Herbicide recommendations from the Department of Primary Industries and Rural Development can be found on the PHBG website.

The PHBG can loan tree poppers to assist in the physical removal of mature cotton bush plants and small apple of Sodom bushes.

Tree poppers clamp onto the base of the plant and use a lever to save both time and your back.

Landholders that are using contractors to control cotton bush can hire several tree poppers at once to speed up the removal of mature plants.

Tree poppers are especially useful when landholders want a chemical-free removal option or the plants are in rough terrain which isn't safe to negotiate with spray equipment.

Landholders who notice unmanaged infestations of declared weeds can report them anonymously to the PHBG.

The group can then make contact with the property owner to encourage them to start control.

According to weed education officer for the PHBG, Teele Hooper-Worrell, often it's just a matter of making the landholder aware that one, they have an infestation of declared weeds on their property, and two, that it is having a negative impact on surrounding landholders.

"There are a lot of people doing the right thing. There is a growing sense of good-will to get on top of weeds to alleviate the burden on neighbours and the surrounding environment," Ms Hooper-Worrell said.

"The group has a number of tools available to make control efforts easier for landholders.

"It is also keen to directly support community groups actively controlling declared weeds.

"A community group may wish to have a busy bee day, which the PHBG can sponsor. Alternatively, they may wish to have their own tree popper.

Reports and expressions of interest can be made to the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group via email, weeds@phbg.org, via the PHBG Facebook page or mobile on 0474 242 223.

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