Tropical Soda Apple - the holiday is over

Seasonal conditions through December and January have created a prime opportunity for the increased germination of Tropical Soda Apple and landholders are asked to be vigilant in ensuring that their land is free of the plant. Tropical Soda Apple, a high risk weed for the north coast area, is an aggressive, prickly shrub that readily invades riverside and pasture areas.

North Coast Regional Weeds Coordinator, Ashley Dongés said, “While many land managers may have undertaken weed control prior to Christmas, 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.”

The plant fruits quickly following rain and produces a large number of viable seeds which have the potential to spread and geminate rapidly. Infestations impact agricultural land, forest, riparian zones, roadsides and parks, displacing native or existing plants. Seed is spread through cattle movement and baled grass, by flood, as well as by other animals that eat the fruit such as deer, pigs and birds.

“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 importance of controlling this weed is highlighted in the renewal of stringent control requirement for all land managers under the Biosecurity (Tropical Soda Apple) Control Order 2022 and the listing of this species as an eradication target for the North Coast region in the North Coast Strategic Weed Management Plan 2023 - 2027.

Landholders are asked to be aware that allowing this plant to go to seed, or controlling it and not removing the fruit, is a breach of the control order as is the movement of stock, machinery, or fodder off infested properties without suitable quarantine and hygiene actions in place. Landholders should hold stock in Tropical Soda Apple free paddocks for seven days prior to sale and movement off infested properties.

Restricting livestock from grazing and moving through areas with Tropical Soda Apple will help reduce spread, as will regularly checking cattle handling facilities, cattle camps and yards for seedlings and new infestations.

The Control Order also specifies that 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 your Local Council Weeds Officer who can also provide further advice on the best methods of control and disposal.

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