2 hours + 5 people =500 cotton bush plants removed. Declared weeds are everyone’s business.

That's what it took to remove cotton bush at the corner of Mundijong and Kargotich roads and at the intersection of Mundijong and Lightbody roads.

Staff from Landcare SJ and the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group were quick to rally together to utilise a couple of unallocated hours in their busy work schedules.

Whilst it is the responsibility of the individual landholder (including managers of the public estate) to control declared pests, sometimes it's a case of biting the bullet and removing the problem before it brings years of ongoing issues.

Which is most certainly the case with cotton bush. A plant that has flowered and

developed seed pods can disperse many thousands of seeds that may last in the soil bank for up to 7 years.

A range of methods were used to remove the cotton bush from the two sites. Small seedlings and plants were removed by hand pulling. Larger plants were physically removed using a specialised lever or by loosening soil around the plant base with a pick. Plants that were too large or had a root base firmly in gravel or hard-set soil were cut at the base, with herbicide quickly applied to the fresh cut.

cooton bush growing by the road

Cotton bush

4 people standing by a vehicle with pulled cotton bush in the foreground

Cotton bush Mundijong road

Landcare Project Coordinator, Kristy Gregory, was quick to point out that whilst these sorts of jobs can be physically demanding, there is a big reward at the end. 

"Not seeing cotton bush as you drive those sections of Mundijong Road is a relief. Removing plants that are only weeks away from setting seed is really a case of a stitch in time saves nine", said Ms Gregory.

"There are a couple more spots to go along Mundijong Road. The stockyards where the food van is, and at the intersection with King Road. There is also a service line and a private property with mature plants that needs attention.

Heading further west toward the freeway, we will need to get the responsible government parties to clean up their road verges as they are too narrow and dangerous to do without traffic control. It will also be a case of them doing it as a gesture of good will, as cotton bush is not declared across the Perth Metro Region," said Ms Gregory. 

Cotton bush is a declared pest in the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group operational area which covers the local government areas of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, as well as Mandurah, Murray, Waroona and Harvey.

Anecdotally, there has been various suggestions that Serpentine-Jarrahdale is the worst for cotton bush, both on private and public land. 

According to Jonelle Cleland, a nil tenure approach is desperately needed in SJ.

"We need to work together to target the hot spots and keep clean areas free of pests," said Ms Cleland. 

Weed education officer, Teele Hooper-Worrell says when it comes to cotton bush landholders are often surprised when a few plants quickly turn into an  infestation.

"This is why early intervention is one of our key messages", she said. 

Cottonbush

Even if you miss this window of opportunity, you don't need to throw in the towel. There are many control options available, and with a plan, you can turn the problem around. 

"We also try to get the message across that even if you personally don't care about removing cotton bush, there is a serious knock-on impact to the wider community - cotton bush lowers agricultural productivity, and has a negative impact on environmental and aesthetic values. 

As the landscape browns off over the summer months, cotton bush becomes more obvious. This is the perfect time to report infestations, so we can provide a verified list of properties for the next round of Government compliance which will occur around September 2019," said Ms Hooper-Worrell.

 The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group, as well as other local organisations such as Landcare SJ, are very keen to help private landholders who feel out of their depth when it comes to controlling declared pests on their property. This can come in the form of providing information resources, building landholder capacity with training opportunities and loaning equipment. These organisations also work to bring other key stakeholders on board.  

For more information contact Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group  or  Landcare SJ

Posted in Latest News, weeds and tagged , , , , .