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The cotton bush and Apple of Sodom field day on the 5th of October was the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group’s most popular event to date. With over 60 people attending, the focus was the management and control of some locally common declared weeds- cotton bush and Apple of Sodom. The event personified the interest and need of the community for help in controlling declared weeds, real experiences both positive and negative were shared providing integral information for local property owners.
Property owner Mike reminds us all that the “Best way to manage weeds is to take ownership of your own weed problems and that’s what we are doing.”
The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group looks forward to holding more informative events like this one in 2017. Become a member today so you don’t miss out on upcoming events and biosecurity information.
The below Article written about the event appeared in the
Wokalup couple Anne and Wayne Slammers speak with Department of Agriculture and Food development officer Andrew Reeves.
LANDOWNERS came from as far as Serpentine and Bridgetown to a field day on the treatment of declared weeds cotton bush and Apple of Sodom in Brunswick on Wednesday.
Landowner Mike Donaghy and his wife Kylie West had tried a variety of methods to combat the infestation they found when they bought the property seven months ago.
With support from the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group and the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, Mr Donaghy offered to share his experiences with other stakeholders and get the message across that the problem can only be solved with a community approach.
“I got rid of cotton bush and Apple of Sodom in one paddock and now find wild radish and wild mustard taking root,” he said.
“The best way to solve the problem of declared weeds spreading is to take ownership of the weeds on our own land.
“As farmers we share the responsibility and we don’t want to spread highly invasive cotton bush to our neighbours.”
Biosecurity group chairman Vaughn Byrd said the turnout of almost 80 people was amazing.
“It was an interactive way where Mike shared his experiences and this prompted others to share theirs,” he said.
“I talked to a number of people and they were very happy with the day.
“In some instances it clarified for them that they were on the right track controlling weeds.
“The field day was very timely – cotton bush is no longer seasonal and landholders have to be proactive all year round.
“If you leave the weeds until they flower, you have left it too late.”
Hay season has finished and lovely yellow rectangles and rolls dot the hills and flats of the Peel Harvey region, but don’t be taken in – hay can hide a multitude of weeds you could be introducing onto your property. Movement between properties of hay, animals and machinery are some of the most common ways weeds are transported through the environment. All property owners should have specific property biosecurity plan in place to restrict the movement of weeds and pests.
One persons weed can be another persons treasure, but there are weeds that can be toxic to livestock and owners should be aware of what these look like. There are a few things to restrict the likely hood of introducing weeds onto your property through your hay. They include educating yourself on what weeds can look like when baled up in hay, checking out the verges and adjoining proprieties for weeds of your hay supplier, and asking questions about the baling process and the quality of the hay.
Four major weeds you could find in your hay-
Patersons Curse (Echium plantagineum) –
Chlorsulfuron; Metsulfuron methyl; Triasulfuron; Tigrex; Broadstrike; Jaguar; Bromoxynil + MCPA
In pasture, up to four leaf stage
Jaguar®; Tigrex®; Broadstrike®; Bromoxynil + MCPA
At early flowering, seed set control
Chlorsulfuron; Metsulfuron methyl; Triasulfuron; Glyphosate + 2,4-D LV ester
Narrow leaf cotton bush (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) –
One-leaf cape tulip (Moraea flaccida, previously Homeria flaccida) –
(One-leaf) August-September, (two-leaf) July-end August:
2,4-D LV ester (cereals and pasture)
2,4-D amine (cereals and pasture)
2,4-DB (cereals and pasture)
Paraquat (blanket wiper)
Full emergence to early August:
Wheat pre-sowing or post-emergence. Barley and oats post-emergence only:
Wheat: 10 days pre-sowing. Barley post-emergence:
At point of corm exhaustion (pasture):
Spinnaker® (for two-leaf only)
Barley Grass (Hordeum glaucum and H. leporinum) –
Toxic- No (seed head causes physical injuries to eyes and mouth of livestock)
Post-emergent herbicide control is limited due to a limited range of herbicides available for the control of barley grass in wheat and other cereals.
|Integrated weed management
|Most likely % control (range)||Comments on use|
|Crop choice and sequence||85 (0–95)||Avoid planting barley in infested areas|
|Herbicide-tolerant crops||80 (40–95)||Triazines and imidazolinone herbicides provide useful control in tolerant crops|
|Burning residues||50 (0–75)||Dropping chaff and straw into windrows improves control|
|Inversion ploughing||90 (70–99)||Use skimmers to ensure deep burial|
|Delayed sowing||60 (50–90)||Level of control depends on autumn break. Use in combination with Tactic 2.2a|
These herbicide and control recommendations are from the Department of Food and Agriculture’s website. Follow the link for more information or to look up control notes for different weeds. When using herbicides remember to use the correct safety equipment and always read the Material Safety Data Sheet for the chemical you are using (available by law through any stockist).
Grants are now available to support the efforts of agricultural landholders and land managers in controlling weeds in the Peel-Harvey Region.
Support for weed control-
Expression of Interest
Agricultural landholders and land managers in the local government areas of Waroona, Harvey, Murray, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Mandurah are invited to apply for grants to support their efforts to control weeds.
Grants of $100 to $1500 are available for the purchase of herbicide, spray packs or the hiring of an appropriate weed control contractor.
Please email email@example.com to receive an application kit.
Due to this year’s interesting weather patterns many people have reported a spike in the amount of broomrape in paddocks and nature reserves. What you may not know is that there are different types of this weed with vastly different consequences for agricultural productivity and export markets.
Branched broomrape is currently targeted under DAFWA’s weed surveillance project due to its potential to adversely impact the agricultural industry. The branched version could easily be confused with common broomrape but to date, it has only been found in South Australia in the Murray Bridge area.
Common broomrape is a parasitic plant which has no chlorophyll and relies on its host for nutrients. The lack of chlorophyll is why the plant is brown. It has a translucent pinky brown stem which is sticky to touch. It is common among capeweed and other broad leaf weeds on roadsides and in agricultural areas. If you have the common variety, dig out the plant making sure you get the bulb-like base of the plant before it can set seed. Bag the plants and dispose in the rubbish bin. Quick disposal after pulling is advised as those left heaped on the ground can still go to seed.
The stem of branched broomrape is erect, thin and richly branched. These branches terminate in flowering spikes. Brown or straw-coloured, it grows 10-30cm high.
Impacts of branched broomrape-
Branched broomrape can be parasitic to a wide range of crops and pastures from several plant families, including canola, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, pulse crops, pasture legumes, cucurbits, hemp, lettuce, sunflower, linseed, beans, capsicums, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes and onions. Annoyingly this weed will be parasitic to a range of weeds, enabling it to reproduce even when crops are not present.
The weed’s presence could result in partial or total crop losses and the possible loss of potential to produce some crops in heavily affected areas. Branched broomrape can also cause the loss of export markets interstate and overseas, and increases in management and control costs.
Prevention of branched broomrape-
- Practice good biosecurity and avoid bringing any contaminated seed, machinery or livestock onto your property.
- Be vigilant and learn to identify the weeds on and around your property. Report unfamiliar weeds using the MyWeedWatcher on-line reporting tool or the app (see agric.wa.gov.au/myweedwatcher) or contact the Pest and Disease Information Service on freecall 1800 084 881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about branched broomrape identification, search our website: agric.wa.gov.au. If you think you have branched broomrape or find any other parasitic plant attacking crop or pasture species, please do not attempt to control it, report it as soon as possible.
A Green Army team has joined up with the Peel-Harvey Biosecurity Group to pull up mature cotton bush plants on a site in the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale.
On a site visit to the Murdoch University run Whitby Farm, Peel-Harvey Biosecurity Officers noticed a large infestation of cotton bush adjoining the farm boundary along an unmanaged gazetted road. After learning how the Whitby Farm had successfully eradicated large areas of cotton bush from their property, PHBG officers decided they would look at options to extend this control past the farm’s boundaries. A Green Army team was active in the area and in conjunction with Landcare SJ and the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council it was organised that the team would spend two days pulling up cotton bush.
The Green Army is a hands-on, practical environmental action programme that supports local environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia.
Cotton bush management
Cotton bush is easily spread by the wind with every cotton bush seed pod containing around 100 seeds. When the pod dries up and drops from the plant, the seeds are carried in the wind and where ever they fall, germinate into new plants. The solution to the cotton bush problem is to break the seed cycle by spraying herbicide or manually removing the cotton bush before it sets seed. When a cotton bush has seed pods formed, the pods can be carefully collected in a plastic bag before removal, or the entire plant can be covered by a bin bag before pulling out.
Mature plants can be difficult to remove, as has been the case at this Whitby site. Mature plants can be cut off at the base and herbicide applied to the cut stem to kill the root and prevent regrowth. Another control method option in winter is to cut the mature plant at its base leaving no more than two centimeters of stem and then stomping on the base of the plant until the stem is cracked and damaged- this leaves the plant open to root rot.
To decrease the spread of seed, cotton bush plants can be piled on site and burnt at a later date if applicable or can even be deep buried.
Once an area has been cleared property owners must be vigilant of regrowth. Young cotton bush plants are easy to manage with herbicide and hand pulling, restricting the regrowth so cotton bush doesn’t mature and set seed is the most effective way of ensuring control into the future.
For more information on the different control methods and products available check out the DAFWA website. There is information available on cotton bush as well as other declared pests.
Cotton bush and the community
Controlling declared pests such as cotton bush is the responsibility of landholders and the local community. Declared pests costs society in lots of different ways, but if we can work together many hands make light work and the Peel-Harvey region can become a cotton bush free area. The PHBG’s mission is to educate the community on effective management techniques, helping provide the tools for the removal and control of declared pests. If you would like to become involved in the group or have some ideas on how to get your community involved in pest control, contact us through email at email@example.com.
For more information on the Green Army programme click here.
Recently a report has come through of a C1 weed category bulb identified in native bushland in the Peel region. The only other confirmed population of this bulb species is in Victoria. All C1 declared pest are actively excluded from WA and is the highest control level attributed to declared pests. C1 prohibited organisms may only be imported and kept subject to permits. Permit conditions applicable to some species may only be appropriate or available to research organisations or similarly secure institutions.
Declared bulb species can be purchased over the internet on international sites. However, the importing of plant material into Australia is highly regulated due to the biosecurity risks. Australia’s Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) has all the information you need to know about any plant material you may want to purchase over the internet, including whether or not the plant is declared and/or not permitted.
The recent finding of the high risk bulb in the Peel region has highlighted the need for gardeners to become informed on the pest potential their garden bulb species may have, especially since pest plants escaping from private gardens is the most common way of becoming established in bushland.
Bulbs and what they mean for the bush-
Bulbs are plants that are generally spring flowering and reproduce and spread from corms and bulbs. In bushland they can quickly become a problem as the corms and bulbs are protected in the soil from extreme weather conditions and the plants are also drought tolerant. The bulbs can even be protected from fires and herbicide use allowing the plant to continue to spread.
Black flag (Ferraria crispa) is a popular bulb purchased due to its unusual succulent looking bracts and leaves, even with an unpleasant odour from its black flowers. Black flag has a high reproductive capacity and will seed prolifically, producing stacked corms that make it very hard to treat with chemicals.
Chincherinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides) is extremely invasive and highly toxic to livestock. This bulb should be carefully considered before planting if the surrounding landscape includes farmland, lifestyle blocks, national parks or urban reserves.
How do they get into bushland?-
The most common way ornamental gardening species find their way into bushland is through inappropriate management and disposal. The illegal dumping of garden waste in bushland areas creates a big problem in the spread of declared and invasive weeds.
When working on bulb species in the garden bag up any plant material, soil and/or the corms or bulbs. Leave the bag out in the sun for a couple of weeks before disposing into the general rubbish, you can also solarise larger areas of soil using plastic sheeting. Be aware that composting alone will not kill the corms or bulbs and gardeners should always be aware of the dispersal of plants and seeds from their own garden into the wider area. If you live close to natural bushland areas or alongside livestock then think hard about what you introduce and cultivate in your private garden.
Please do not dump garden waste into our native bush and make sure you bag up loose corms or bulbs when disposing of garden waste. Declared pest management cost the entire community so do your part.
What shall I do if I see one?-
A list of the common bulb species found in our bushland can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Food website. If you see a bulb species out in bushland then use the MyWeedWatcher App to report it. You can also contact the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group for control information on declared pests.
In a short space of time Mike Donaghy and his wife, Kylie West have made incredible inroads controlling infestations of cotton bush and Apple of Sodom on their Brunswick property.
To demonstrate effective (and not so effective) methods of treating these declared weeds, Mr Donaghy will be hosting a field day on Wednesday, October 5, between 10am and 1pm.
“When we took on the property six months ago I was keen to get rid of cotton bush and Apple of Sodom to improve the productivity of the land. The infestations were so bad that grazing was severely inhibited.
With different advice on offer I decided to trial a range of chemical options, and also non-chemical methods.
The idea of a field day came to mind because I really want to fast-track other people’s control efforts by giving them the opportunity to see what has worked, and not worked for me”, Mr Donaghy said.
The field day will be supported by Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) and Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) and is open to any person who has an interest in controlling declared weeds in the region.
Chairman of Peel-Harvey Biosecurity Group, Vaughan Byrd extended his thanks all those landowners who have been treating their cotton bush and Apple of Sodom.
“These two weeds spread so rapidly and we need a community effort to control them. We are grateful to Mike for holding this field day and I encourage landowners to come and learn about the most effective methods of treatment.
The field day will also show how a few untreated cotton bush plants can turn into a 40 hectare infestation within several years,” Mr Byrd said.
Register your interest to attend the field day with the Peel-Harvey Biosecurity Group, by email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an information pack with directions to the property and an outline of the program, which will include an opportunity to chat over freshly made sandwiches. Children are welcome at this event.