A weedy problem and where to get help

A weedy problem and where to get help
Spraying Cape tulip on Kangaroo Island during the blitz. Photo courtesy of the KI Landscape Board.

There’s a good reason for the saying ‘growing like weeds’. Weeds have the ability to spread and grow with seemingly little attendance and can be extremely hardy - sprouting up and thriving almost anywhere.

They threaten the country’s unique biodiversity, fuel fires and cost Australian agriculture an estimated $4 billion annually.

Weed control is everyone’s responsibility. As a land manager – that is a home or property owner, farmer, or business owner – it pays to know your responsibilities when it comes to weeds. Your local landscape board can provide support through weed identification and recommendations for control. There may even be grants available to support large scale control efforts.

Working together to beat pest plants

While each landscape board region has different priority weeds, boards also work together to control or eradicate pest plants for the benefit of agriculture, native species and the environment across the state.

Cape tulip is a declared weed, toxic to livestock, which thrived in the wake of 2019-20 bushfires on Kangaroo Island.

This posed a serious threat to the island’s livestock industry and prompted landscape officers from across the state to come together on KI for a control blitz to get on top of the weed.

The week-long blitz, which also involved other government agencies, farmers, landholders and community members, saw this declared weed sprayed across large areas of the island.

While control at such a large scale may be uncommon, the range of stakeholders involved in everyday control is not. Defeating pest plants is a shared responsibility and needs the coordinated efforts of landholders, the community and other stakeholders, with landscape boards available for control advice.

Three things you can do to stop weed spread

  1. Keep your eye out: if you see a plant that you are unsure about – whether it’s in your backyard or paddock, along a roadside or in a community reserve – seek advice from your local landscape board.
  2. Act quickly: controlling weeds early will save time and money.
  3. Stay vigilant: weeds can be dormant for a time before sprouting up again, for example, fountain grass seeds can survive seven years in soil.

Which weeds have to be controlled in South Australia?

As a land manager it pays to know your weeds especially those declared by legislation as threats to our agriculture productivity, biodiversity and public health.

South Australia has 150 declared pest plants. Declared plants are those that must be controlled by landholders under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019.

That said, the diversity of our landscapes – from lush green paddocks to desert and rangelands – means that certain pest plants are more of a problem in one area of the state than another.

South Australia’s landscape boards respond to this challenge by identifying the priority pests for each region.

Get in touch with your local landscape board to learn about the priority weeds for your area.

Where can I get help?

Landscape boards offer practical support including:

  • help to identify weeds, and
  • advice on control options.

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