Weed control

Mr Merlino, State Member for Monbulk raised the matter for weed control with the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security in Parliament recently. The action Mr Merlino is seeking is for the Minister to support the establishment of a biological control program to combat the weed wandering trad.

“A number of local groups in my community are engaged on this issue, including the Friends of Sherbrooke Forest, Friends of Ferny Creek, Monbulk Landcare Group, Friends of Monbulk Creek, Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushlands, Friends of Sassafras Creek, Friends of Hazel Valley, Olinda Creek Landcare Group, Hogan Park Committee of Management, Thomson’s Road Area Fireguard Community and Landcare Group, and the Patch Landcare Group. Many organisations and people are concerned about wandering trad.” Mr Merlino said.

Mr Merlino stated that “A number of bipartisan groups organised a tour of the Dandenong Ranges. I went to have a close look at the weed problem in the hills and also the areas where great work has been done to eradicate weeds.”

“Wandering trad is a very nasty weed. It is a vigorous evergreen creeper which occurs throughout the Dandenong’s and in the foothills on both public and private land. It completely suppresses native ground covers and prevents the regeneration of understorey shrubs. It is a significant threat to the biodiversity of native plants.” Mr Merlino said.

“In terms of treatment, it can be removed manually but is a bugger of a weed, because as soon as you grab a handful of wandering trad it breaks away easily. It can be treated and killed using herbicides, but it needs repeated applications, which is not appropriate for local streams. In the environment of the Dandenong’s using herbicides is just not appropriate.” Mr Merlino said

“There is a biological control. The Tradescantia leaf beetle has been collected from the home range of the trad in Brazil which targets the weed species only, it ignores land tenure.  A research program in New Zealand has been quite successful.” Mr Merlino said.

“The Department of Sustainability and Environment is very supportive of it but it needs Department of Primary Industries support as well.” Mr Merlino said.