Murraylands landowners urged to control boxthorn infestations

ENEMY: The declared weed African boxthorn (pictured) has been a target species in key locations across the Murraylands and Riverland this winter for district staff. Photo: Supplied
ENEMY: The declared weed African boxthorn (pictured) has been a target species in key locations across the Murraylands and Riverland this winter for district staff. Photo: Supplied

MURRAYLANDS landholders are being urged to control boxthorn infestations on the properties and on roadsides.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board underwent a large-scale effort to control African boxthorns in 2020 and the board is encouraging residents to make sure they are doing their part.

African boxthorn is a declared pest plant, and landowners are required to take reasonable control measures on their properties and adjoining roadsides under the statutory obligations of the Landscape South Australia Act 2019 (the Act).

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, Murraylands district manager Kylie Moritz said unchecked infestations could invade cropping areas and bushland, provide shelter for foxes and rabbits and a home for fruit fly.

"A coordinated effort last year controlled African boxthorns from more than 800 kilometres of roadsides and 100 kilometres of railway tracks throughout the region," she said.

"We now need to follow up and control any new plants or re-growth," she said.

Ms Moritz said many boxthorn plants would be looking green and healthy, which presents as the perfect opportunity to control while the plant is actively growing.

"Herbicide application by foliar spray, or to the freshly cut stump or mechanical removal of the plant with machinery are all successful control techniques," she said.

"African boxthorn is considered a secondary fruit fly host ... The small red berries it produces are a welcome home for the devastating invasive fly.

"While African boxthorn may not be the first choice of fruit, it can provide a refuge for fruit fly and aid them in persisting long enough in our landscape to invade other fruit crops.

"Landholders can do their part in the fruit fly fight for our region by controlling any African boxthorn plants they find on their property or roadsides."

Ms Moritz said district officers were keen to work with landowners to develop a plan to manage boxthorn on their property.

"We encourage landholders with boxthorn problems to give us a call and discuss the issue so we can provide advice and expertise to help them get on top of the problem," she said.

-Details: For advice on identification and control options or assistance with other pest plant and animal issues, please contact the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board office at Murray Bridge phone: 8532 9100 or Berri phone: 8580 1800 or visit the website www.landscape.sa.gov.au/mr/pest-plants-animals/pest-plants for weed identification and information fact sheet.

Invasive: Keith Sullivan, Denise Viggers, Pat Marsden and Olesya Bulatova stand next to a boxthorn on a Murray Bridge street in 2017. Photo: File.

Invasive: Keith Sullivan, Denise Viggers, Pat Marsden and Olesya Bulatova stand next to a boxthorn on a Murray Bridge street in 2017. Photo: File.