We can all take action to solve the weed problem, here are some helpful tips:
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Find out more below how specific industries can support weed management through reducing risk.
Invasive plants present an extremely serious threat to Australia’s natural environment and agricultural regions. It is estimated that weeds cost Australian agricultural production up to $6 billion each year. Unless the spread of invasive plants is slowed down, future generations may be left with the legacy of a degraded Australian landscape, which will have a major impact on Australia’s primary industries, trade and economy.
Given the scale of the problem, it’s not surprising we need to adopt a multifaceted approach. We all need to play a part. The Australian Government and the state and territory governments work collaboratively to implement national eradication programs for weeds in Australia. Farmers too, play a critical role. Many farmers are proactively working to eradicate invasive plants and already have weed management plans in place.
To assist in solving the weed problem, consider the following:
It’s common for hobby farms to be located in peri-urban areas, that is, on the fringes of our cities. The physical location of such properties can pose challenges for owners when it comes to managing the spread of invasive plants from gardens to surrounding habitats.
Many people are unaware of the damaging impact invasive garden plants are having on our environment. The reality is that invasive plants or garden ‘escapees’ present an extremely serious threat to Australia’s natural environment, and agricultural regions. In fact, weeds are estimated to cost our agricultural industry $4 billion annually and to have an unquantifiable but similarly massive impact on our environment.
To assist in solving the weed problem, consider the following when managing your hobby farm:
Poor disposal, such as dumping garden waste in bushland, is one of the main ways that weeds escape from gardens and start growing in bushland and waterways. Some of the ways that you can help minimise the spread of weeds through responsible disposal of garden waste include:
Check with your local council about what garden waste disposal facilities are available in your area.
Some of the worst weeds found in our native bushlands have escaped from gardens. When invasive plants escape from gardens they can reproduce and aggressively invade natural habitats, crowding out and threatening native plants.
According to the CRC for Australian Weed Management, 65 per cent of the exotic plant species that naturalised in Australia between 1971 and 1995 were introduced as ornamental or garden plants.
Some of the ways that you can help are:
Even within Australia you need to be very careful about transporting plants from one area to another or from one state to another. Plants that are perfectly safe in one part of Australia may be an environmental disaster in another. Check the weeds list for problem plants before you consider transporting them to other parts of Australia.
Check with your relevant state or territory government department before transporting plants from one area to another or from one state to another.
For more information about quarantine arrangements when travelling within Australia it is best to consult the local jurisdiction you are travelling to.
Exotic weeds are those that arrive in Australia from overseas and establish in the country. These weeds are of particular concern because of the damaging impacts they have on the country’s primary industries, trade, the economy and the environment. In order to protect Australia from the impact of exotic weeds we need to know what to look out for and what to do when a suspect exotic weed is found.
Imported plants, bulbs and seed including those ordered over the Internet or through mail order must be cleared before coming into the country and some may be banned or require permits. Check your regional biosecurity laws before ordering plant material.
Some of the worst weeds found in our native bushlands have escaped from gardens. Of the almost 3,000 introduced plant species now known to be established in the Australian environment, two thirds are escaped garden plants.
When we talk about weeds in this context some of you might be surprised to find out that we are talking about common garden plants, like Agapanthus or Arum Lilies. Here are some suggestions that can assist you to check your garden for weeds:
Different weeds have different methods of removal depending on the way they grow and propagate.
Even when you have removed weeds, it is important to regularly monitor your garden to ensure weeds do not re-establish.
Some steps you can take to maintain a weed-free garden include:
Weeds can be spread hundreds of kilometres if left unchecked. If a vehicle passes through a weed infested area seeds can become lodged in tyre treads and other crevices on the vehicle, only to be dislodged and dispersed in to new areas.
Some states and territories may have legal requirements which apply to the transport industry. There may also be operating procedures or codes of practice relating to the management of weed spread, such as vehicle wash down.
Steps you should take to reduce the spread of weeds include:
When cleaning your vehicle, follow these steps to reduce the spread of weeds:
The landscape industry is a major source of advice to gardeners. What you do can play a critical role in minimising the spread of invasive plants. Some things to consider include:
The retail gardening industry is an important partner in minimising the impact of invasive garden plants. Many consumers seek advice from their garden retailer and the point of sale is an ideal opportunity to influence the plant purchasing decision. Research has indicated that when consumers are aware of potential weediness they are quite willing to accept safer alternatives.
The Nursery and Gardening Industry Australia (NGIA) is working with the Australian Government to develop a ‘Grow me instead ‘ program which focuses on identifying non-invasive alternatives to garden ‘escapees’. The program includes the opportunity for garden retailers to participate in training and accreditation initiatives.
Some things that garden retailers can do to assist in minimising the impact of weeds include:
Unfortunately the majority of weeds are spread by human intervention or activity. When you are enjoying the great outdoors it is important to take a few simple measures to ensure that you do not spread weeds. Remember weeds spread easily.