Be wary of weeds post floods and beat the invasive weed war

RESIDENTS and landholders throughout the region are being asked to remain vigilant and on the lookout for new infestations of invasive weeds following the recent flooding.

The large areas of disturbed and denuded land along the banks of waterways are a legacy of the floods that provide the perfect opportunity for invasive weeds to flourish.

Invasive weed seed and plant fragments will have also been deposited in the sand and sediment on the banks of our creeks and rivers and across inundated paddocks. Areas that have been relatively free of weeds in the past can quickly become infested.

Invasive weeds are a serious threat to our region's natural environment and primary production industries. They are typically fast growing, produce large quantities of seed and once established can outcompete our native species, impact upon biodiversity and degrade large areas of private and public land. Farming productivity and the affecting the livelihoods of our primary producers and their capacity to produce food and fibre can also be seriously reduced by invasive weeds.

Burnett Mary Regional groups weeds and pests technical officer Lalith Gunasekara says that the key to winning the war on invasive weeds is early detection and eradication. Raising public awareness about the threat posed by invasive weeds following the floods is also extremely important.

"There is a lot of information out there to help landholders in the identification of invasive weeds species. Councils and many community and Landcare groups are able to help with weed identification and can also assist in the eradication and control of problem infestations."

"We are waging a constant battle against the spread of invasive weeds in the region and we really need to enlist the help of landholders, particularly since the floods, where there may be new infestations that we don't know about" Mr Gunasekara said.

Parthenium is a highly invasive weed. A single plant can produce more than 100,000 seeds, each of which can remain viable for many years.

"At this stage its presence in the region is localised. Eradication efforts are more likely to be effective because we are able to get in early and manage its spread."

"It is unfortunately a case of having to pick the battles that we have a chance of winning. The more established an invasive weed becomes the more difficult and costly it becomes to control it.  Weeds such as Giant Rats Tails grass and Cats Claw Creeper for example are prevalent throughout the region. The resources required to properly eradicate these weeds is far in excess of what is available to us, both in terms of man hours and money." Said Mr Gunasekara.

Landholders seeking to get more information about the various types of terrestrial and aquatic weeds to look out for or to report new infestations are encouraged to contact Burnett Mary River Group on (07) 4181 2999 or their local council.