Big event coming up next Friday the 7th of February at the Boolarra Memorial Hall. The Victorian Blackberry Taskforce Roadshow is coming to town and is a great opportunity for landholders in the Latrobe Valley and surrounding areas to get the latest on Blackberry control along with other weeds. The day included guest speakers and demonstrators from Chemical Companies (Dow and DuPont), DEPI, Victorian Blackberry Taskforce and a presentation on Biological Control.
We encourage any property managers that are dealing with Blackberries or other woody weeds in the Callignee/Traralgon South/Koornalla areas to attend.
Date: Thursday November 28th
Time: 7.00 pm
Venue: Callignee Hall
Meet with other landholders and work towards a community wide approach to controlling Blackberries.
Learn more about the best methods to tackle Blackberries and other woody weeds.
Report on areas of Blackberry infestation that are of concern in your local area.
We want your input and involvement to help contribute towards more effective Blackberry control at your local level.
Formation of a local sub-group.
Woody Weeds Action Group (Central Gippsland) Inc. is a community group supported by the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce.
“Community partnership projects are geared towards providing community with greater ownership of blackberry management by developing joint projects between community and government and promoting local solutions.”
Blackberry is one of the worst weeds in our district particularly in terms of its environmental impact, with its tendency to out-compete and choke native vegetation, and reduce habitat quality for native animals (e.g. restrict the movement of Koalas) . By law all landholders are required to make reasonable efforts to keep Blackberries under control. Where blackberries can be readily accessed conventional methods such as spraying with herbicides are still the recommended way to keep Blackberries in check.
The development and release several years ago of new strains of Blackberry Leaf Rust may work as an additional tool to help the overall battle against this weed. It is hoped that these new strains are more vigorous and have more of a negative impact on Blackberry growth. Blackberry Leaf Rust spreads by spores which are carried in the wind and it is thought that they can spread long distances. Their ability to spread should mean that after the initial introduction they should disperse out by themselves into sites that have suitable conditions for their growth. (It is impossible to tell by sight whether or not the rust you are looking at are the new strains of rust or the original ones).
Blackberry rust mainly impacts on fresh new growth and has less impact on older canes and leaves. The rust can cause leaves on new growth to curl up and die, preventing the tips of new stems from taking root and spreading. The damage the rust does to the plant can seem spectacular but it may take many years of repeated rust attacks to have a real impact on the Blackberry spread. There is hope however that the in the longer term the impact of the rust on the blackberry foliage can allow more opportunity for native plants to grow and re-establish in areas where Blackberry is currently thriving.
The rust is not tolerant of drought or hot dry conditions, sites where the rust does best tend to be higher rainfall areas (e.g > 750mm per annum) that have part shade and protection from drying winds. It will also persist better in sites that have larger infestations of Blackberry, meaning that where smaller patches exist every effort should be make to remove them by other methods. The best time to see the impact that rust may be having on your site is early autumn.
Central Gippsland Woody Weeds Action Group – Has a new direction.
The Central Gippsland Woody Weeds Action Group (CGWWAG) is now in its third year and is continuing the community driven battle against Blackberry and other woody weeds such as Gorse and Broom. Initially formed as part of bushfire recovery based efforts to get on top of returning weeds, the group is expanding its reach to surrounding areas and aims to be a support network for landholders facing the task of managing invasive weeds on their properties. The group’s operations are based on the Community Weed Model which has been used successfully in Victoria to control Serrated Tussock, Gorse and Ragwort.
The aim of the group is to reduce the growth and spread of blackberry on private land, and also on public/private land boundaries, by working together with all land managers to implement appropriate control measures. To achieve this we are seeking to connect with landholders to help us identify infestations in your area, to let us know if you have a successful control program on your property or to discuss difficulties you may have.
Ian Ewart the groups Chair says that “Landholders can follow their neighbours and sign up for a voluntary three-year agreement, where they agree to take certain actions to manage Blackberry on their properties, if everyone agrees to do their bit we can ease the on-going negative impacts that the spread of these weeds have. We aim to find ways to assist people to do this in any way we can.”
David Akers has been engaged as Project Officer and is keen to hear from landholders in the group’s focus area, which is the northern part of the Strzelecki Ranges between Callignee and Boolarra. David will focus on touching base with the many landholders who have already taken up Management Agreements and done works to control Blackberry to date. He is also keen to work with people who are keen to join in and do their bit to control weeds in their neighbourhood.
Blackberry is a noxious weed that is a major threat to both agricultural production and the natural environment. Immediate control is imperative to achieve the community’s desire for long term, permanent control of this plant in the Central Gippsland Area.
The Callignee/Traralgon South Landcare Group’s spray unit is available for anyone in the district to borrow for weed control purposes. It has a 400 litre tank and two spray hoses that have a reach of about 70m. Get in now and spray your Blackberry and other weeds this year, for more information about borrowing the spray unit or if you want advice on Blackberry and woody weed control, contact the Central Gippsland Woody Weeds Action Group (CGWWAG)
A weed workshop was recently held at the Callignee Hall where participants were treated to a BBQ meal followed by presentations from Latrobe Landcare Network Co-ordinator Peter Newgreen and Bob Wilson from the Department of Primary Industries.
Key messages on the night included the following tips
Weeds have a number of adverse affects on a range of things including, productivity, stock health, impact on native flora and fauna.
It is vitally important to be able to identify the weed you are a dealing with and know about its life cycle.
Annual species will only last one season, new plants will only grow by seed. They key to their control is to stop the plants producing and releasing seed.
When Perennial plants die off on top, they may still have a healthy root system that is likely to re-sprout. To control them you need to kill the whole plant.
Some species can reproduce vegetatively (e.g by fragments of stem, root or leaf) ploughing in or slashing these species can drastically increase their spread.
Learing some basic information about plant classification can make it easier to identify weeds. Certain features of a plant can you quickly narrow down the possibilities of what the exact species of weed could be.
The best way to control weeds is to stop them becoming established in the first place. Key sites to check for new infestations are along watercourses and drainage lines, as well as sites where introduced fodder has been spread, along roadways and traffic areas and around stock camps.
Integrated Pest Management – (Where a variety of actions are taken to control a weed. e.g use a variety of types of suitable herbicides, good pasture management etc are undertaken) is vital otherwise weeds are likely to become resistant to your control method.
People tend to notice weeds that are Yellow (e.g. Ragwort) or Purple (e.g. Pattersons Curse) but they don’t pay enough attention to grasses. People need to be vigilant for serious weeds such as Serrated Tussock and African Love Grass.
Identification of weeds can be difficult, especially as some features used for identification of the plants are not always present e.g flowers/seed pods. If in doubt samples can be taken in to your local DPI office.
The worst established weeds in the district are Blackberry, Ragwort and there are some patches of Patterson’s Curse. Worst areas for weeds tend to be along watercourses and gullies.
There is a need for an ongoing education campaign for landholders especially ones that are new to the area and are not aware of the implications of allowing weeds on their property to continue to spread. Landcare can play a big part in this.