INTRODUCTION TO MORNINGTON PENINSULA PEST PLANTS

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INTRODUCTION TO MORNINGTON PENINSULA PEST PLANTS 

One of the greatest threats to the remaining bushland of the Mornington
Peninsula is weed invasion.Visitors admire the region’s natural setting, its open vistas and wooded landscapes; residents cherish them. Yet most people are unaware of the potential devastation of our native vegetation through the careless spread of some alien species.

It is estimated that less than seven per cent of the Mornington Peninsula
is covered in bushland similar to that occurring before European settlement. Of this remnant bushland, much has already been invaded by plants normally found elsewhere.

WHAT ARE PEST PLANTS? 

The term ‘pest plant’ or ‘environmental weed’ refers to those plant species that have naturalized outside their normal geographic range. Essentially,
they are weeds because they grow

WHERE THEY DO NOT BELONG. Environmental weeds have been progressively invading bushland and coastal areas of the Peninsula, taking over from the indigenous (naturally occurring) species, or preventing their regeneration.

Most of the indigenous wildlife surviving in our area is directly dependent
on indigenous vegetation. Loss of bushland can lead to local extinction
of our birds and animals.

Some of the plants in this booklet are termed “NOXIOUS WEEDS”. Under
State legislation, local councils are responsible for enforcing noxious
weed provisions. On private land, the responsibility for controlling noxious
plants lies with the owner or occupier of the land, who may be fined for
failing to remove them.

The majority of pest plants threatening the Peninsula’s natural areas
have spread from residential gardens, tracks or roadsides into surrounding
bushland. Once established there, they grow vigorously because they have
few natural predators or diseases to control them. This results in the reduction in numbers and abundance of plant species, a loss of habitat for our wildlife and a deterioration in landscape qualities.

It is vital that we all recognize environmental weeds and that we prevent
their further spread into our remaining bushland areas. Unfortunately some of the plants in this list are still sold in some nurseries.

USING THIS GUIDE 

This guide is designed to emphasize the role of residents in tackling the Mornington Peninsula’s weed problem. It includes information to assist
in both the identification and control of thirty-two major pest plants.

The weeds have been selected from lists submitted by the former municipalities of Frankston, Hastings and Mornington in conjunction with the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment.

A further list of plant species with potential to become serious weeds is included on the back cover of the guide. These plants should be closely
monitored, treated warily and not planted.

Control – Who and How? 

This guide should encourage residents to tackle pest plants on their own land. In some areas the clearing of native vegetation requires state or local planning approval. If uncertain about plant identification, please consult with your local council before removal.

Weed control on public land is the responsibility of government authorities, either Local or State. However, public land managers generally welcome the assistance of informed voluntary groups, such as conservation associations, schools and service clubs.

For each weed on the illustrated list we have recommended mechanical
control means, e.g., pulling, cutting or digging. Whenever possible, plants
should be removed before seed is set.

Information on chemical control is available from the Water Resources
and Land Protection Division of the Victorian Department of Sustainability
and Environment, which provides a free advisory service on weed problems. Users of herbicides are responsible for ensuring that correct precautions and procedures are carried out.

Disposal 

It is important to dispose of the various parts of weeds in a manner unlikely to cause further spread. Seed-free foliage can safely be composted. Seed-heads, stem portions, bulbs and plants with persistent root systems should be sealed in bags and either placed in garbage bins or taken to the tip or refuse station.

Replacements for Pest Plants 

An important part of pest control is replacement with plants that do not pose a problem. By choosing indigenous plant species, residents can create habitat for local animals and birds, and contribute to our local landscape. In the centrefold is a selection of substitute species indigenous to the Mornington Peninsula.

Acknowledgements 

We are grateful to the Weed Science Society and Friends of Sherbrooke
Forest for providing photographs in this publication.Click here for list of photographs of examples of Mornington Peninsula Pest Plants