My thanks to Bill Incoll (Friends of Sherbrooke Forest) for providing
this update, Bill has been tireless in his pursuit to rid the Dandenongs of
Wandering Trad - Tradescantia fluminensis. Thanks also to Glenn Brooks-McMillan (Community Weed Action of the
Dandenongs) and Anne Fitzpatrick (Yarra Ranges Landcare Network) who had a hand
in preparing this summary update.
Regular readers of my blog will
recall an earlier article
detailing the call for research into a biological control for this weed nasty, ranked
10 in Yarra Ranges.
|Wandering Trad forms a smothering carpet, it displaces|
indigenous ground covers, herbs, grasses and orchids.
It is a common cause of rashes in dogs and is toxic
Funding has been found to start
the battle with Tradescantia fluminensis (Wandering Trad). A recent
Research Update provided by the Department of Environment and Primary Industry
(DEPI) and CSIRO has provided the following news.
An application to the
Australian Weeds Committee to have Wandering Trad (Trad) a target for biological
control has been prepared and is being considered by the Committee.
While the application is being
approved, testing of biological control agents can begin, provided this is done
under safe quarantine conditions. Two agents, an insect and a fungal pathogen,
are being imported from New Zealand. The fungal pathogen has already been
imported and is currently in the quarantine facility with CSIRO in Canberra.
The insect, Lema
basicostata, attacks the stem of the plant and greatly reduces the biomass
of the plant. It has already been released in New Zealand and is successfully
attacking Trad in the wild. It spreads by natural increase and will reduce the
volume of weed until a natural balance is achieved that maintains a population
of insects and a low biomass of Trad.
The fungus, Kordyana sp, (Brazilian
yellow leaf spot fungus) attacks the leaves. The spores are spread by wind,
much more quickly than the insect. This agent also has the potential to reduce
Trad biomass to a low level.
The biocontrols will be tested
on Australian native plant species likely to be affected, under strict
quarantine conditions. DEPI will work on the insect, and CSIRO the fungus.
The first year of a three year
program has been funded from State and Federal sources. Further funding must be
found for two more years, leading to the safe release of up to four biocontrol
In addition to the biological
control program, Federal funding has been found to combat the spread and impact
of Trad while the biological control program is carried out safely. These
efforts will be concentrated where Trad is likely to affect rare or endangered
species or communities in the Dandenong Ranges, on both private and public
It's great news and good to
receive progress updates, it's a terrible weed which smothers everything else
in its path and sadly is commonly found throughout the Dandenongs, especially
along our waterways.
Labels: biological control, cr samantha dunn, environmental weeds, friends of, sherbrooke forest, wandering trad, yarra ranges council