Location: Castle Hill, Townsville, North Queensland
Article: Written by Susie Bidgood; Imagery by Michael Pugh
The Hike and Explore networks are fortunate to have many of our regions experienced and knowlegeable adventurers as valued contributors, both by assisting with organising and running events, and volunteering their time to share their wealth of outdoor knowledge with our group and followers.
At our monthly Adventure Sessions event held at Castle Hill, Jaymie and Shakira from NQ Dry Tropics spoke with the group about weed identification and control.
WHAT IS A WEED?
A weed is a plant growing in the wrong place.
Weeds cause environmental, economic and health damage and costs Australia more than 4 Billion Dollars a year.
The Qld Government Biosecurity Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation.
Local councils undertake biosecurity programs to help residents and it is their responsibility to enforce the biosecurity obligations however their budgets are limited.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?
· Clean boots before and after our hikes
– Wear sock protectors or gaiters to prevent seeds spreading
· Check clothing for seeds before and after our hikes.
– Seeds easily embed into Lycra. Long sleeved cotton shirts are great. Our TSV Hike and Explore long sleeve shirts are also good.
· Remove weeds from our back yards and on our hikes – taking care to minimise seed dispersal.
HOW CAN WE BE MORE INVOLVED?
· Join our local Landcare Group
– Townsville, Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Inc (CDTLI)
– Magnetic Island, Magnetic Island Nature Care Association (Minca)
– Burdekin, Lower Burdekin Landcare Association Inc.
· Volunteer with Tangaroa Blue
IS THAT A WEED?
· If you would like to identify if a plant is a weed, join the Facebook group – NQ Weeds. The team there are passionate, so post your pics and questions!
SIAM WEED – Townsville City Council has lost the battle. Grows 2cm a day. Now appearing in the Burdekin. Seeds have an 8 year life and more than 80,000 seeds come from just one plant. Very easily dispersed by the wind. Known to cause skin problems and asthma in allergy-prone people. If you pull it out, DO not put the roots on the ground as it will shoot again with the rains. Loves fires.
LANTANA – Some cattle can eat various colours of the flowers but find others toxic and have a bad reaction which caused their ears to burn off. Introduced into Sydney in 1820 as an ornamental plant. The seeds have an 8 year life.
LEUCEANA TREE – Flowers & seeds all year. Have long seed pods and seeds have 20 year life. Will re-shoot after stumps cut. Keep treating and treating.
NEEM TREE – Not useful in our yards to deter mosquitoes.
We also discussed various other weeds – Rattails grass, rubber vine, elephant ear vine, blue snake weed, Africa Fountain grass, pink periwinkle and Japanese sunflowers to name a few and just how prevalent so many weeds are in our streets, city, back yards, on Castle Hill, Magnetic Island and in our National parks.