LOCALS of all backgrounds, not just our farmers, are being urged to keep their eyes peeled for fireweed growing anywhere in the district.
Fireweed is an introduced weed that competes strongly with parklands, pasture and grassland species and is known to be toxic to livestock.
It is imperative that its growth in any part of the area be reported.
WHAT DOES IT
If you can go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pestsweeds/weeds/profiles/fireweed/fireweed-image-gallery you will find very good pictures that will enable you to identify fireweed.
HELP, I’VE SEEN FIREWEED:
Contact Col Groves, Weed Inspector, Bom-bala Shire Council or if you are out and about and see this lovely little yellow daisy plant.
Put gloves on, pull it out, put in a sealed plastic bag and put it in the bin. That is the best and easiest way to get rid of this menace.
If you haven’t got gloves, make sure you wash your hands as soon as possible after handling the plant.
WHY CONTROL FIREWEED?
It’s not just about competition with pasture and grassland. Horses, donkeys and cattle face the greatest risk of poisoning from this plant. Poultry can also be affected after eating fireweed.
Sheep that eat fireweed may experience a higher copper intake resulting in liver damage. No significant damage to sheep may be noticed until the animals have been exposed to the weed for two or more seasons.
Goats can also be affected but, as with sheep, may require at least two seasons of exposure before symptoms are noticed.
Heavy infestations of fireweed often result from neglect of steadily increasing fireweed infestations.
Fireweed is not fussy about where it grows. It also loves roadsides, parks, bushland, anywhere it can get its roots down; and the wind drifts its tiny seeds all over the place. It has arrived in our area from the coast.
BUT I’M NOT A FARMER, WHY SHOULD I WORRY?
The environment belongs to all of us. Each fireweed plant may produce as many as 30,000 seeds as a single yellow flower can produce between 100-150 seeds and there can be as many as 200 flowers per plant.
These seeds are then blown all around the place and can germinate and continue flowering and seeding without being noticed in rugged bushland etc.
A copy of ‘Fireweed: A Best Practice Manage-ment Guide for Australian Landholders’ is now available online and in hard copy.
Look up www.ruralfutures.une.edu.au/fireweed/publications.htm or if you would like to order a single printed copy (for farmers) reply to Michael Coleman, Agronomy and Soil Science, School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351. Phone 02 6773 4474 or Facsimile 02 6773 3238.