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Call to join fight against deadly bloom

Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
NCMRR arum lily project officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith said previous work had shown coordinated action was the best way to manage the weed. Photo: Catherine Massey
Camera IconNCMRR arum lily project officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith said previous work had shown coordinated action was the best way to manage the weed. Photo: Catherine Massey

A familiar pest has once again reared its head in the South West with calls for an arum lily army bigger than ever before.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region is on the hunt for community members to join its war against arum lilies in the South West as part of its three-year blitz program.

The State Government-backed program, now in its second year, aims to control the South African herb which threatens the region’s natural beauty and biodiversity.

NCMRR arum lily project officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith said previous work had shown coordinated action and shared management between all land holders was the most effective way to control the weed.

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“The reason they’re a pest is that they out-compete native vegetation, they start to take over areas of really health biodiverse vegetation,” she said.

“They’re also an agricultural weed so they take over agricultural land so that its not valuable for stock and they’re poisonous as well resulting in hundreds of sheep in the region dying from eating the leaves.”

Ms Hanran-Smith said it was important for people to take control early and not wait until it becomes a problem. A successful effort in 2019 has continued this year, with 750 private land owner registrations for the program already received.

A GeoCatch spokeswoman said the first year of control is noticeably effective with less effort required for follow-up control.

“Now is the best time to control the arum lily whilst it is flowering,” she said.

In the first year of the program 624 landowners took part in controlling the weed across 10,800 hectares, with 1200 hours of spraying undertaken.

To register a property for the blitz, visit https://airtable.com/shryaZRZf4A5CZFGP

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