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Time to tackle blooming pests

News release
27 September 2018

With warmer weather and spring upon us, we are starting to see signs of life as local flora and fauna come out of hibernation throughout the South East.

But it’s not only the natives that are beginning to emerge - pest plant species are also starting to bloom.

Natural Resources South East Upper South East Team Leader Pest Management Kym Haebich said one weed to look out for right now is one-leaf Cape tulip (Moraea flaccida).

“Now is the time to start treating infestations of Cape tulip,” Kym said.

“Native to South Africa, this weed is a toxic perennial bulb plant that grows to about 60cm high.

“True to its name, each plant has one long narrow, flat leaf. Its flowers are 3-5cm in diameter with colour varying from salmon-pink through to orange and yellow.”

Cape tulip will invade cleared land in soils ranging from sands to heavy waterlogged clays. It can also colonise in a range of agricultural situations, from grazing pastures to cropping land, both horticultural and viticultural.

“This weed is a potential threat in the region as it can contaminate soil, fodder produce, machinery and stock,” Kym said.

“The plants also contain a toxin called glycoside which is poisonous to all grazing animals. Fortunately poisoning is rare, but the unpalatability of the Cape tulip can lead to an increase in population.

“The Cape tulip is actively growing at this time of the year, so now is the ideal time to start control. We recommend herbicide application by boom spray or wick wiper.

“For follow-up control, the proportion of corms remaining dormant in the soil can be reduced by burning in autumn.”

For more information on pest plants and how to control them, contact your local Natural Resources Management Officer.

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