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Kicking out khaki weed

News article |

The declared plant khaki weed (Alternanthera pungens) is starting to emerge around the Riverland, taking advantage of the moisture in the soil and the warmer weather.

Posted 30 November 2020.

The declared plant khaki weed (Alternanthera pungens) is starting to emerge around the Riverland, taking advantage of the moisture in the soil and the warmer weather.

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board District Manager Hannah Spronk said at the moment the weeds might only be small, but given time they will quickly develop some nasty prickles that will soon let you know they’re around.

“While not well established in the region, the known sites are being monitored by the district team who follow up with landholders to ensure control happens early. Ms Spronk said.

“We don’t want to see this weed establish in our district. It’s prickly, and the sticky burr would ruin public areas like playgrounds, footy ovals, river and lake fronts, making picnics down by the river an uncomfortable situation.

“You may find this weed growing in high traffic areas, such as stressed patches of grass where there is bare ground or edges of public grassed areas, roadsides and headlands of irrigated blocks, all are prime locations,” she said.

“The weed is covered with small golden coloured prickle burrs that easily get stuck and transported on shoes, clothes, animal fur and vehicle tyres. This means it has the potential to become the next caltrop, something the Riverland District team are eager to prevent.

“Khaki weed is a notifiable plant and declared for destruction across South Australia. This means that any suspected infestations that landholders may find or that district staff are aware of, must be reported to authorities.

Ms Spronk said please be assured, you won’t be in trouble for having it or finding it on your property, we just need to ensure our region is playing their part.

She is asking landholders and community to keep an eye out and contact the Berri office about any plants they suspect may be a khaki weed.

“The district team are here to help and can assist landholders with identification, and developing a control plan.

“Our team can quarantine areas to prevent access and use chemical and small hand tools for control,” she said.

Khaki weed is a small spreading plant, with reddish stems and green, oval-shaped leaves. They develop tell-tale straw coloured burrs as they mature and have a thick and deep tap root that helps them survive for long periods.

Ms Spronk said the burr makes it easy for the weed to spread and so early detection and action is vital to ensure we keep our region and state khaki weed free.

For advice on identification and assistance with control options, landholders and community are encouraged to contact their local Murraylands and Riverland Landscape and National Parks office Berri phone: 8580 1800.

Or visit the Biosecurity SA website and refer to the weed control handbook.

Originally from South America khaki weed is a declared weed in South Australia under the Landscape South Australia 2019 Act.

The program is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the Landscape Levies.

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