Friday, October 19, 2012

Working Towards A 'Healthy Habitat' ... Chapter 2 ... Identification

So the report came back.  The NQ Dry Tropics Field Officer, who visited our property back on the 3rd of August, has identified a list of plants that need to be controlled.

The list included a total of 35 pest plant species!!!  Now while it is a rather long list, there were only 4 'declared' pest plants found on our property, and one found just on the fence line on the neighbour's side.  The remainder of the plant list includes plants that are considered 'environmental weeds', but are not on the 'declared pest plant' roll call.

3 of the 'declared pests' have been marked Level 1 and 2 declared plants, and highlighted as a very high priority for removal, including ...

... the Thunbergia which was found on the neighbour's side of our fence line

... the Sporobolus jacquemontii or American Rat's Tail Grass found near the car shed and our old chook shed

... and Ziziphus mauritiana or Chinee Apple, which is found all through the bush paddock.


Another 2 'declared pests' were marked as a high priority for control, including ...

... Cryptostegia grandiflora or Rubber Vine,

and Lantana camara.

All of these plants will become the focus of our Action Plan and we will be working hard at eradicating them from our property over the next six months or so.

There were another 4 plants identified as 'environmental weeds' and marked as high priority for control.  These included ...

Azadirachta indica or Neem,

Bidens pilosa or Cobbler's Pegs,

Sansevieria trifasciata or Mother In Law's Tongue,

and Stachytarpheta jamaicensis or Snakeweed.

It's certainly going to take some hard work to get control over the spread of all these plants, but we're determined to do our very best.

Other pest plants that were identified on our property include things like ...

Alternanthera ficoidea or Joyweed,

Cassia fistula,

Catharanthus roseus or Periwinkle,

Centratherum punctatum subsp punctatum or Brazilian Button Flower,

Chamaecrista rotundifolia or Wynn Cassia,

Clitoria ternatea or Butterfly Pea,

Crotalaria zanzibanica or Rattlepod,

Macroptilium lathyroides or Phasey Bean,

Murraya paniculata or Mock Orange,

Passiflora foetida or Stinking Passion Flower,

Ocimum basilicum or Basil,

Tridax procumbens or Tridax Daisy,

and Leucas lavandulifolia.

All these plants are listed as environmental weeds, but are only marked as weeds of moderate priority for control.  They will not be addressed until a long way down the track, when the high priorities are dealt with.

One section of the report that certainly bought a smile to my dial though, in the face of the rather daunting task we have ahead of us, was the list of native species that are growing on our property, either in our yard or out in the bush paddock.  There were 30 plants on that list, including native grasses, shrubs, trees, vines and herbs.  How wonderful is that!!!  I really had no idea there were indeed that many natives around our place, but I will leave all that for Chapter 3 of the saga.


  1. Bernie, that is an in-depth report that you have to work with.
    Some of those same plants are invasive here as well and are considered weeds.
    I do keep my snakeweed (blue vervain, porterweed)well trimmed, since it is medicinal and it is used for tea and cleansing.
    Neem leaves are steeped as a tea and used as a spray for plants with fungus and disease issues.
    You have your work planned out for you, but you will accomplish your goal, a little bit at a time.

    1. Virginia, the report was very in-depth and pages long. The information was amazing and I certainly have learnt a lot about the pest plants around our place. We're determined to do our very best at getting at least the 'declared' pests under control, if not totally eradicated. While we know it's going to be a huge job, we're keen to start.

  2. I really like Murraya Paniculata, but birds do eat the berries and that's how it spreads. It's good that you have quite a few native species growing on your property, I don't envy you the hard work though, some of those weeds are pretty ugly, I would probably dig them up with great gusto. Enjoy your weekend Bernie.

    1. Karen, it's really so unfortunate that Murraya paniculata is regarded as such a weed. Of course it has that status for very good reasons, which you've mentioned, but I really do love the perfume from its' flowers. I'm going to find it very difficult to get rid of the few Murrayas we have growing here.

      As for digging up the weeds ... quite a few of them out in the bush paddock are at a stage that would require heavy machinery to dig them out. Unfortunately, because of the steepness of the cliff we sit on and the precarious nature of ground in many places, that's not an option. We will have to resort to poison, which is sanctioned by the NQ Dry Tropics mob. I'm not all that happy with it I have to say, but that's what is being recommended.

  3. Bernie, I was shocked to find that I have many of your weeds growing in my garden too! Unlike in your country, in India, there is no check on weeds and invaders. You have a hard task ahead of you, eradicating all those weeds.

    1. Lotusleaf, I guess it all depends where you live as to whether plants are regarded as weeds or not. I shiver whenever I see gardeners in the southern states of the U.S. raving on and on about Lantana!!! It's such a demon here, and brings us no joy whatsoever. Even the lovely flowers don't sway me one little bit.

      Yes it's going to be a very hard task working on getting rid of as many of the identified weeds as possible. I doubt we will actually accomplish that, but hopefully we'll manage to eradicate the real nasties.

  4. Lantana is also a noxious weed in South Africa - but is not in my garden. Lotusleaf I would guess that neem is native to India. Her weedy Sansevieria is my prized indigenous (I have 2 different leaf patterns)

    1. Diana, I'm afraid I'm not a fan of Lantana at all. It's such a nasty thing here, and we've tried for years to get rid of it in the bush paddock. It's one tough customer, so we know we're in for a long protracted battle.

      Neem just pops up everywhere here. It's an amazingly tough plant given that it seems to pop up in the most desolate, driest and poorest corners of our property. I too have two different Sansevierias growing in different spots close to my house. I'm hoping that I can move them both into corners where they can be contained. We'll see.

  5. Wow what a lot of good information here. Some it surprising. I hate the lantana too neighbours on both sides of our property are overgrown with it and it is a never ending battle to keep ours free.
    Mock orange was a surprise inclusion, as was the basil.

  6. I really need to find someone in my area to help me identify the invasives and environmental weeds on my property. I am curious to find out how many natives are here and how many pest plants.

  7. We have some land just out of Sydney on the Colo river which had terrible infestations of lantana. Our local Landcare group comes by with a 'splatter gun' which shoots droplets of glypho out of a big area. Used on green leafy lantana in spring-early summer it has a fabulous effect and any native understorey is sheltered from the poison & survives quite well. Good on you for taking your custodianship of your land so seriously.

  8. What a great report - congratulations on the diversity you have! I was very surprised to see some of the listed weeds, but then again - not sure if they are weeds in other areas and countries. I have always wanted a neem tree, and was very surprised to read about that.

  9. Good luck with that, Bernie. It's a big and on-going job, but also an incredibly valuable one.

    It's interesting how rapidly neem has become a weed and it's still being promoted as 'environmentally friendly'.

    (Ironically, I used to get quite a few calls from neem growers complaining that snails and insects were eating their trees! )

  10. You do have a big job with this and now you have the map for how to proceed. I don't envy the work you have ahead of you.

    Lantana is recommended for our gardens by our state horticultural service, it doesn't spread or take over as it does there. We do have a native variety of lantana so that might be the difference.

    There are some non-natives which do cause problems here and they are identified for us to avoid.

  11. Bernie,
    I'm so impressed by what you've taken on in your garden. Kudo's for making such an effort to eradicate all the pest plants. It must have been nice to hear that you had so many natives growing, too. Well done and I wish you much success with your efforts.
    You've certainly got me thinking about why I should eradicate the periwinkle from my garden next year. I wish I'd never planted it, despite the pretty blue flowers in early spring.
    Have a good weekend!

  12. Hi Bernie,
    Having just seen your latest posting on GardenClickers I thought it was about time I visited your blog. All I can say is WOW! my idea of heaven but don't think a whinging pom like me could cope with the weather. Keep up the good work, your photos certainly brighten up the dull days here in the UK.

    Best wishes



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