Monday, April 08, 2013

biological control for wandering trad?

Yarra Ranges Council has supported Monbulk Landcare and other environment groups in their  call for the development of a biological control to assist in the management of Wandering Trad (Tradescantia Fluminensis).

A recent weedblitz saw enormous amounts of Wandering Trad
removed from our environment, but it's ongoing control is very challenging.
Wandering Trad is one of Yarra Ranges weed nasties and voraciously infests many of our natural waterways having a detrimental effect on biodiversity and waterway health.

Wandering Trad is ranked number 10 of worst weeds threatening biodiversity in Yarra Ranges and council spends much time assisting with its removal and control. Our Landcare and Friends of Groups also spend an enormous amount of time trying to control this week. Weather conditions of recent times have seen an explosion in the amount of Wandering Trad and its spread.

Wandering Trad very effectively smothers all other ground cover plants until it becomes the dominant species. It's very effective at spreading itself as small parts of the plant break off and produce new plants, particularly around natural waterways and drains.

It's removal is problematic, the more cost effective and safer alternatives to chemical treatments, like slashing, mulching and hand removal are not effective as control measures. Chemical treatments are difficult due to the risk to waterways, aquatic and semi-aquatic life forms. 

Given the challenges with this weed, it makes it a good candidate for research into a biological control and it's worth noting that a biological control program has been in progress in New Zealand since 2011. A successful control would save hundreds of thousands of dollars of future investment and deliver far better results for control than current methods, allowing natural biodiversity to recolonise its traditional areas.

Let's hope support of this initiative will see some focus given to the issue, environmental weeds are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity and it's great to see Monbulk Landcare  along with an affiliation of environment groups in the Dandenongs take the lead on the issue.

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