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Watch out for Winter Weeds

News release
02 August 2022

With winter weather comes winter weeds and the Limestone Coast Landscape Board (LC Landscape Board) is encouraging landholders to be on the lookout.

Limestone Coast Landscape Board, southern operations Team Leader, Nicole McGuiness said there is a range of priority declared weeds to be aware of this winter.

“Landholders should be looking to control declared weeds such as Salvation Jane, Horehound, African boxthorn and Variegated thistle,” she said.

“Preventing spread and decreasing weeds on your property benefits industry and most importantly the long-term sustainability of your land,” Nicole said.

Early intervention and control of winter weeds can reduce control costs significantly as the young, emerging plants require less herbicide. This also allows desirable pasture species to thrive and out compete weed species.

A priority weed for the LC Landscape Board this season is variegated thistle.

Variegated thistle typically establishes where there are bare patches in pasture and with dry summer conditions, these paddocks are more prone to new weed infestations.

Variegated thistle has shiny, mottled green leaves, deeply divided into toothed segments with short spines along the edges. Variegated thistle accumulates nitrate throughout its growth period, to levels that can be toxic to sheep. The weed becomes most palatable when it has wilted, this is also when nitrate levels are most dangerous.

“It’s really important to treat this thistle well before it flowers in spring and with multiple treatments over the winter period,” Nicole said.

“Seeds can remain dormant in soil for up to 9 years, however consistent and effective management of pre flowering plants can reduce years of re-emergence. Follow up control is key.”

Sheep are often responsible for movement of variegated thistle seeds across pasture. Seeds can also spread by water, vehicles, machinery, or in hay, chaff, or silage.

Landholders are encouraged to check their properties in particular along fence lines to prevent spread on to roadsides and neighbouring land.

“Declared weeds do not recognise property boundaries. By working together we have the best chance of controlling priority pest plants in the region,” said Ms McGuiness.

Landholders have a legal responsibility, under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, to control declared plants on their land.

Landscape Officers for the LC Landscape Board are located all around the Limestone Coast and can help landholders with advice on weed control techniques, weed identification and resources to support best practice control.

For more information or advice on pest plant and animal management in your area contact your local Landscape Officer or by calling the Limestone Coast Landscape Board on 08 8429 7550.

Watch out for Winter Weeds
Variegated thistle flower
Watch out for Winter Weeds
Variegated thistle in paddock