Article by: Hari Yellina
The cooler weather has caused weeds to grow at an alarming rate, and pest weeds are also benefiting from the shift in weather, but one proclaimed weed that is acting as a safe haven for fruit fly is a major problem. According to Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board district manager Hannah Spronk, the declared weed, African boxthorn, is taking advantage of the recent cooler temperatures and moisture, making this a good time for treatment. “It will appear green and vigorous, which is a great period for control because the weed will be visible,” she explained. “What plants grow depends on the season and weather circumstances, and weeds are no exception.”
“Left unchecked, infestations can spread to roadsides and native vegetation,” he said. “If you approach too close, their thorns may be quite terrible, and the bushes can provide cover for pest animals like foxes and rabbits, as well as a home for fruit flies.” When alternative food sources are scarce, fruit fly are attracted to the plant because the little red berries provide a safe haven. According to Ms Spronk, this allows the fruit fly to survive long enough in our climate to target other fruit crops. Roadsides and properties, particularly badly infested regions and those with remaining native plants, are top priorities.
Each winter, district officials work with landowners and contractors to eliminate invasive species in priority locations, and while the majority of their efforts are successful, new plants continue to infiltrate the landscape. Ms Spronk advised, “Now is the time to follow up and perform targeted control of any new plants or regrowth.” “We welcome the opportunity to cooperate with landowners and encourage them to contact us. We can offer guidance and experience to assist them in resolving the issue.” Landholders are advised to contact their local Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board office for assistance with pest plant and animal identification and control options, as well as other pest plant and animal issues. This District team is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the landscape levies.