Weeds are plants that grow where they are not wanted. Nevertheless, what a weed is to one person, may be a valued plant to someone else.
A substantial number of plants have been officially declared as weeds under the Weed Management Act 1999 (the Act). This is because these plants can cause or have already caused an adverse impact on our natural or agricultural environment.
Once plants are declared weeds there are restrictions relating to their trade, sale, import, movement and disposal.
Under the Act, a Weed Management Plan must be drawn up for each plant. These Plans are drawn up by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and go through a public consultation phase before becoming statutory plans.
Each Weed Management Plan sets out restrictions and approaches for reducing or eradicating the particular weed. They apply equally to public and private landholders. The DPIPWE Website shows all Weed Management Plans.
Weed Control and Assistance
There are a number of key steps to successful weed control:
- Plan weed control activities carefully.
- Find out the different options for weed removal before starting.
- Make weed control activities strategic - start in areas that have few weeds and gradually work in towards the main infestations.
- Concentrate on clearing weeds from areas that are mostly in good condition.
- Be prepared to sustain the effort. You could actually make the problem worse by clearing too much too soon and not doing enough follow-up work.
- Get adjacent land managers to work together to eradicate the weeds.
Some weeds have been declared Weeds of National Significance. There is funding available through the Federal Government to remove them. In Tasmania these weeds are:
Serrated Tussock - DPIPWE is responsible for this Plan in Tasmania.
Bridal Creeper - DPIPWE is responsible for this Plan in Tasmania.
Boneseed - DPIPWE is responsible for this Plan in Tasmania.
Gorse, Blackberry, Willow - DPIPWE is responsible for this Plan in Tasmania.
Other weeds, such as Rice Grass, also have specific removal programs. Contact your DPIPWE Regional Weed Management Officers on 1300 368 550 for more information.
If there are declared weeds on my land, what does it mean?
The Act and associated Weed Management Plans provide detailed information on the legal obligations relating to landowners and declared weeds. This includes restrictions on the:
- movement of declared weeds or things that may be contaminated by declared weeds.
It also includes requirements in relation to such things as boundary protection.
Basically the Act puts obligations on all landholders, both public and private, to take an active part in either controlling or eradicating the weeds on their property. In areas where declared weeds have not yet been recorded, it is everyone's responsibility to prevent the weeds getting established and to look out for new infestations.
If you travel from areas interstate or overseas infected with declared weeds, it is important that you check all your belongings for seeds, fruit and plant matter or get quarantine officials to check them when you arrive in Tasmania. The importation of some plants is also restricted under the Plant Quarantine Act 1997.
Weed inspectors can require action to be taken to remove weeds. Your local Council should be able to provide you with contact details for the weed inspector for your area. The weed inspector will be able to provide you with more detailed information about your obligations under the Act.
The Biosecurity Tasmania Division of DPIPWE (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au) has a lot of information on weeds and provides identification assistance as well as information on control and management techniques.
The DPIPWE website contains numerous resources and brochures available to download free of charge.
There are also several good publications around that have pictures of weeds to look out for. These include:
- A Guide to Garden Plants that are Going Bush and Becoming Environmental Weeds in the Tamar Region; Environmental Weeds of Southern Tasmania.
The actions you need to take to remove weeds in your area depend on the weed(s) you are dealing and with the environmental conditions.
Successful weed control requires consideration of the characteristics of the plant itself as well as the context in which it is growing. What may be a successful and acceptable solution in one situation may be ineffective or inappropriate in another. Seek professional advice before undertaking weed control work.
Often an integrated approach that uses a combination of control methods may be required to effectively deal with a weed. These methods may include:
- pulling or digging out by hand or machine
- mulching or establishing competitive vegetation
- grazing, mowing or slashing
- spraying with appropriate herbicides.
If using chemicals:
- take adequate safety precautions
- always read the instructions on the label
- be especially careful near lakes and waterways as some chemicals harm aquatic ecosystems.
Some weeds need a variety of methods to successfully remove them and some follow-up work will nearly always be required. Contact your local DPIPWE Regional Weed Management Officer or join a local community group to find out more.
Tamar Valley Weed Strategy
This community-based organisation has provided educative resources to enable the identification of common weeds that are posing such a threat to the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania (and much else of rural Australia) and to suggest ways of dealing with them.
The Tamar Valley Weed Strategy is a community based organisation that has received tremendous support from a whole range of groups and individuals: heavy and light industry, landcare groups, municipal Councils, Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association, Federal and State Governments and individual landowners and farmers.
Visit their website at www.weeds.asn.au
Weed Control Further Information
Under the Act, Weed Management Plans specify which municipalities the weeds should be eradicated and those in which the weeds must at least be contained.
Weed Management Plans also provide the legal framework by which weed law enforcement can occur.
For further information contact the Biosecurity Tasmania Division of the DPIPWE:
GPO Box 44, HOBART 7001 or phone: 1300 368 550 or email: Biosecurity.Tasmania@dpipwe.tas.gov.au.
For further information, have a look at the Weeds in Australia website.