by admin on February 1, 2010

OVERVIEW

The problem
Tasmania is home to nearly 1,900 native species of flowering plants and over 800 introduced and naturalised plants, many of which are weeds. The annual cost of weeds to Tasmanian pastures and field crops in 2007 was valued at $58 million whilst the cost to our natural areas has not yet been calculated.

In order to effectively manage weeds over the longer term it is essential that partnerships are formed and maintained and that programs are coordinated and resourced on an annual basis. After all, weeds are a growing problem, they don’t respect boundaries and are everyone’s responsibility.

The solution
The Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy 2005-2010 [click to download] establishes a framework for improving weed management decision-making and on-ground outcomes across the Southern Natural Resource Management region. It is based on developing partnerships and relationships that encourage an integrated, coordinated and cooperative approach across all levels of government, private enterprise and the community that will endure into the future.

The Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy is supported by the Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority in partnership with NRM South, through funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country.

Within the STCA the Weeds project manager is responsible for implementing the strategy with the support of the Steering Committee.

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Wild Pussy Willow – A Ticking Time Bomb

by admin on August 21, 2011

Pussy Willow in winter

The Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority is asking the public to assist in reporting and locating populations of wild pussy willow Salix cinerea, also known as seeding willow.

This environmental weed is declared under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999, and is a Weed of National Significance (WoNS). Under the Act, pussy willow is an eradication target and by law, all plants must be controlled.

Unlike the very common crack willow, Salix fragilis, which are all male and spread via broken branches, pussy willow has both male and female plants and reproduces by seed. Pussy willow is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic, social and environmental impacts.

Female catkins

Male catkins

In the past, pussy willows were planted in gardens as ornamental trees. These plants have now naturalised and infested a number of areas.

In Southern Tasmania, isolated infestations are known to occur in the North West Bay catchment (including Neika, Leslie Vale, Allens Rivulet, Kingston and Longley areas), south Franklin (Jacksons Road) and around Lunawanna on Bruny Island. There are also infestations at Queenstown, Circular Head and Penguin in the northwest of the state.

Pussy willows are like a ticking time bomb. Their spread can initially be slow, but when the right conditions occur, a catastrophic explosion in numbers can occur.

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Bridal creeper flowers

Bridal creeper is a Declared Weed under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999 and is a high priority for the Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy.

Currently it is found at a limited number of sites across the region. Bridal creeper entered Australia as a garden plant in the 1870s.

With its spray of white flowers and tear drop-shaped leaves, bridal creeper was a favourite for wedding bouquets. The marriage went terribly wrong! Bridal creeper is now a Weed of National Significance and is regarded as one of Australia’s 20 worst weeds.

It invades coastal areas, creeklines, wet and dry forests, irrigated citrus orchards and pine plantations.

Bridal creeper foliage

It out-competes understorey species and seedling trees with its carpet of thick lush foliage and can also climb and eventually smother taller plants.

The vines appear above ground in late winter through to late spring. Summer sees the above ground growth die off, leaving the tuberous mat under the ground that will nourish the plant until the leaves reappear in the following winter.

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Weed profile: Orange hawkweed

by admin on January 13, 2011

Orange hawkweed flower stem (Photo: DPIPWE)

Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) is on the Australian Alert List for Environmental Weeds, a list of 28 non-native plants that threaten biodiversity and cause other environmental damage.

These weeds are in their early stage of establishment, however they have the potential to seriously degrade Australia’s ecosystems.

Orange hawkweed is also declared under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999.

It was probably introduced into Tasmania’s Central Highlands as a garden plant early in the 20th century but was not recorded in mainland Australia until much later.

Orange hawkweed can reproduce by seeds and stolons. Plants usually produce 4-8 stolons. (Photo: DPIPWE)

Currently it is found at a limited number of sites within Southern Tasmania, including outlying infestations in the Derwent Bridge/WHA area and at Sandy Bay, Taroona, Snug and Kingston as well as old records from plantings in Hydro villages on the Central Plateau including Miena and Shannon. The main or ‘core’ infestation is in the Fern Tree/Neika area.

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Weed profile: Ragwort

by admin on June 8, 2010

ragwort-plant-in-heavy-flower.jpg

Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is identified as a high priority weed for the southern region.

It is a familiar pasture and roadside weed throughout the higher rainfall parts of the region and has been the subject of a high profile awareness and control campaign in the Huon Valley and Kingborough Council areas recently. 

Ragwort is an economically significant competitor of pastures and is poisonous to livestock when eaten. 

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Weed profile: African boxthorn

by admin on June 8, 2010

box-1.jpgAfrican Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum) is identified as a high priority weed for the southern region. African boxthorn affects coastal areas, bushland, pastures and roadsides through the lower rainfall areas of southern Tasmania.

African boxthorn is one of the top ten agriculturally significant weeds in the region, for its invasiveness in pasture and hazard to stock, humans and vehicles.

African boxthorn is also regarded as a significant environmental and social weed, but performs some environmental services in coastal areas. This weed provides important habitat and protection from dogs for Little Penguins in degraded coastal areas.

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Weed profile: Capeweed

by admin on June 8, 2010

Capeweed

Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula) is identified as a priority weed for the southern region. Capeweed affects a wide variety of land managers, from suburban gardeners through commercial farmers.

In the home garden it competes with herbaceous and lawn plants. Capeweed is also an economically significant competitor of crops, grass and clover, and may be the dominant plant in some pastures. Conversely, this weed is nutritious to stock, for which it is valued by some graziers. 

Capeweed is an annual herb, germinating in Autumn, growing as a rosette through Winter and flowering in late Spring to Early summer, before dying off.

Rosettes look similar to many other flat weeds, but can be distinguished by the hairy, very pale undersides of the leaves. Flowers are pale yellow daisy flowers with a black centre and are highly visible in southern Tasmania this month.   

Capeweed is most efficiently controlled in Autumn. Plan now for Capeweed control after February 2008. Nonetheless there are some effective control options available to land managers at this time of year.

Refer to the DPIW control guide for this weed.

Below is a comparison of Capeweed, left, to other rosette weeds.

compare weeds

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Weed profile: Gorse

by admin on June 6, 2010

Gorse weed

Gorse (Ulex europaeus), familiar to most Tasmanians, is the southern region’s most devastating weed.

Gorse invades all land types, with native bush, streambanks and pasture some of the worst affected areas.

Gorse out-competes most other plants, prevents access to the land for stock and people, and creates a significant fire hazard due to its extreme flammability.

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Weed profile: Spanish heath

by admin on June 6, 2010

Spanish heath

Spanish Heath (Erica lusitanica) is identified as a high priority weed for the southern region.

Spanish Heath invades native vegetation, pasture and roadsides, forming dense infestations and creating a fire hazard due to its extreme flammability.

Spanish Heath is a winter-flowering shrub typically growing to 2m tall. It has densely clustered tiny leaves and white to pink tubular flowers.

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weed priorities

The Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy has claimed an Australian first by undertaking a bottom-up priority setting process using the National Post-border Weed Risk Management Protocol.

This means that the region now has a list of priority weeds which can feed back into allocation of funding, council planning, and the Nursery and Garden Industry, to name a few of its uses.

The Southern Tasmanian Weed Strategy 2005-2010 identifies “Regional involvement in the development and implementation of a prioritisation process for weed species” as a high priority.

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