North Coast landholders face increased Tropical Soda Apple infestations

Landholders on the North Coast are facing significant challenges as Tropical soda apple has experienced an extremely successful growing season. This aggressive, prickly shrub, known for its rapid spread and high-risk status, is straining efforts to maintain control.

North Coast Regional Weeds Coordinator, Ashley Dongés, emphasised the importance of following the best practice guide for control and reaching out to local council weeds officers for further on-ground advice. "The rate and amount of germination brought on by our warm summer conditions and recent rain mean that places where the weed has occurred before and new areas where it might spread will need to be inspected as a priority."

Tropical soda apple fruits quickly after rain, producing many viable seeds that can spread and germinate rapidly. These infestations impact agricultural land, forests, riparian zones, and disturbed ground, displacing native or existing plants. The seed is spread through cattle and machinery movement, baled grass, floods, and by other animals that consume the fruit.

“This is why Tropical soda apple is a high priority for control across the state and particularly in the North Coast region,” Ashley said.

The Biosecurity (Tropical soda apple) Control Order 2022, underscores the critical need for stringent control measures. Allowing the plant to go to seed and failing to act towards eradication is a breach of the control order. Moving stock, machinery, or fodder off infested properties without appropriate quarantine and hygiene actions is also prohibited. Landholders should hold stock in Tropical soda apple-free paddocks for seven days before sale or movement off infested properties.

Restricting livestock from grazing in areas with Tropical soda apple and regularly checking cattle handling facilities, camps, and yards for seedlings and new infestations are vital steps to reduce the spread.

Individuals must report new infestations of this weed as soon as practicable. If you believe you may have Tropical soda apple on your property, please notify local council weeds officer or the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline 1800 680 244.

If you would like more information about Tropical soda apple visit the NSW WeedWise website or download the Tropical soda apple best practice manual.

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