THE FIGHT against high priority weed tropical soda apple continues across the shire as control measures are embraced by landholders with assistance from Kempsey Shire Council and Local Land Services.
The threat of tropical soda apple has increased following the flood. The weed is present along the entire Macleay River as it is carried downstream and spread to pastures by wild animals and livestock.
It then aggressively invades paddocks and diminishes biodiversity.
Dedicated action by the community has limited the potential spread since the 2019 bushfires.
This involved immediate action when new tropical soda apple growth was identified and where plants had begun fruiting, removing the fruit before controlling the plants. This included approximately 4000 hours of control works by weed control contractors.
Kempsey Shire Council weed officer Greg Egan said local landholders and council have been working hard to destroy tropical soda apple in our region, focussing on destroying fruiting shrubs before they spread and displace native plants.
"Each plant can produce up to 150 fruits containing 45,000 seeds per year, so destroying tropical soda apple before they bear fruit means livestock and animals won't eat and spread the weed further," Greg said.
"It is up to all of us to help destroy this weed so if you see tropical soda apple growing on your land, or anywhere, please let council know and we can put control measures in place."
Before the floods, council and landholders had made great headway in reducing the spread of tropical soda apple and council's weed officers are strongly urging the community to be vigilant.
"Look out for any germination of tropical soda apple (TSA) on your land and report those to council's weed officers because we are here to work with you and help you," Greg said.
Kempsey Shire Council allocated $250,000 of the Federal Government's Drought Communities Program Extension funding to fight against TSA along the Macleay River.
Tropical soda apple is under a Biosecurity Control Order across NSW, which means the plant must be destroyed wherever it occurs in the State and landholders must notify council if they become aware of a new infestation.
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