Prickly Pear under attack in the Wimmera River Reserve
Friday 27 April, 2012
A major Prickly pear infestation In the Wimmera River - Heritage River Reserve has been controlled by Parks Victoria with over 1100 infestations sprayed with herbicide.
Stuart Lardner, Ranger in Charge with Parks Victoria based at Wail said: “The Prickly pear cactus spreads easily when the fruiting heads break off and take root, and it is a significant weed between Tarranyurk and Lake Hindmarsh, so we undertook control measures earlier this year.”
“Prickly pear was identified on both sides of the Wimmera River along a 16 kilometre stretch of frontage and covering about 490 hectares,” Mr Lardner said.
The greater concentration of infestation of Prickly Pear, a regionally controlled weed in the Wimmera, was on the western side and some infestations were also identified on private land adjacent to the Wimmera River.
Mr Lardner said “One of our concerns is the threat of cactus infestations on adjoining private property, so we need to get on top of this as quickly as possible. To support the program it would be very beneficial if adjoining landowners, who have prickly pear infestations were able to control the weed on their land.”
“The floods of January 2011 dislodged many Prickly Pear plant segments, branches and seeds and the floodwaters carried plant segments great distances downstream.
“These segments take root via finely barbed bristles that come in contact with soil.”
Mr Lardner added that targeted chemical treatment was used as it was the best management option for a large infestation of Prickly Pear.
“In excess of 1100 infestations have been treated.”
Monitoring of the control area will be on going as it is expected that further Prickly Pear infestations will come to light, and there is also a significant Prickly pear seed bank to contend with.
“Further on ground works will have to be undertaken next year,” Mr Lardner said.
Enquiries regarding Prickly Pear control on the Wimmera River can be made by contacting Parks Victoria on 13 1963.
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