Consider your neighbours and control weeds on your property

Published on 04 September 2017

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We’re now in our first week of spring and at this time of year, it’s crucial to ensure we try to reduce the spread of any weeds on our property.

Murrindindi Shire Council’s Portfolio Councillor for Natural Environment and Climate Change, Rebecca Bowles, said weeds know no boundaries and we are all responsible for ensuring we don’t spread them.

“When weeds do escape beyond our property boundaries, they become a landscape issue, which is why working with your neighbours and in groups is far more effective than battling them alone,” she said.

“Over the past few months, we’ve written about problem weeds such as Paterson’s Curse, Capeweed and the South African weed orchid, but there are a lot of other offenders.”

Cr Bowles said there are many issues with weeds – and not just the fact that they compete with our native vegetation for space, water, nutrients and light.

“Weeds also alter habitats and reduce food and shelter for our native plants and animals,” she said. “Weeds like blackberry for example can form barriers and restrict access to areas, they create a financial burden and become time-consuming for property owners to try to control. Chilean Needle Grass can irritate and injure stock and ruin a sheep’s fleece, while St John’s Wort can be toxic to stock. Flowering weeds are also often responsible for allergies including hayfever.

“They can also invade our waterways, choking or diverting water courses, can increase fuel loads and heat generated from fires as well as decrease the land’s amenity, value and productivity.”

Cr Bowles said weeds are spread in so many ways, whether via the wind,  travelling in water through the stormwater drains, creeks or waterways, by animals (domestic, stock and wild), or via people and pets carrying seeds in hair, fur, or shoes from the garden or paddock tracking them into bushland. Machinery can also move seeds around in tyre treads, wheel arches, in the cabin or tray or in the operational part of the equipment.

“There are some easy ways to prevent weeds before you even have to deal with them,” Cr Bowles said.

“First, it’s worth considering growing only non-invasive plants in your garden. Also consider the root stock on your grafted plants and toss-up whether it’s really worth buying that  pretty plant you don’t recognise from the markets.

“Second, when you’re dealing with your garden, ensure heavy fruit or seed-bearing plants are not planted near drains, drainage lines, creeks or streams. Also it’s best not to toss any garden waste over the garden fence, into the forest or bush. And if you’ve got any aquariums or ponds, always discard plants from them appropriately and never into our waterways.”

“If you’re sourcing gravel, soil, mulch, seed or turf, try to buy it from a trusted weed-free supplier. The same goes if you’re bringing in livestock feed too.

“Finally, whether you’re out in the paddocks in your car or working with your livestock, or working in your garden, always make sure you check for any seeds stuck to your clothing, stuck to your dogs or livestock as well as your car. And of course you should remove and put them in your bin before they have a chance to relocate to a new patch of soil.

There are a number of Blackberry Action Groups and Landcare Groups within Murrindindi Shire that coordinate efforts locally. For more information about these groups, contact the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network Coordinator Judy Watts on 03 5797 4405.

Murrindindi Shire Council collaborates with these groups and prioritises roadside weed control programs around group efforts.

For more information about our weeds and how to control them can be found online on Council’s website at http://www.murrindindi.vic.gov.au/Your-Property/Environmental-Management/Weed-Management or contact Council offices on 5772 0333.