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Waging the war on weeds at Sunset Strip

Local Land Services Western Region is rolling out a trial control program to curb the spread an invasive exotic tree species at Sunset Strip, near Menindee.

The tree, willow rhus (Searsia lancea), is native to South Africa and thought to have been brought to the region by mining engineers for soil erosion control.

Today, it has spread throughout the village and is overgrowing indigenous trees and shrubs and changing habitats.

Community Manager David Lawrence said there is a risk it will spread to surrounding agricultural and grazing lands, the Kinchega National Park and Sunset Strip Aboriginal Protected Site unless it is controlled.

“We’ve acted quickly to roll out a trial in collaboration with the Sunset Strip Progress Association to determine the most effective control method,” Mr Lawrence said.

“We’ve commenced a basal spraying program and we will follow this up with excavation to pull out the larger plants.

“We’re also mapping populations so we can monitor its spread.

“We don’t know a lot about how to control the species and that’s why this trial is so important.”

The species is extremely drought hardy and grows quickly into a dense shade tree, choking out underlying plants. It reproduces by suckers or seeds, which are easily dispersed by birds or small animals to surrounding locales.

Infestations have also been identified in the White Cliffs and Tiboburra areas.

“Once we’ve identified the best control method, we will be able to advise the community about to tackle infestations in their region,” Mr Lawrence said.

For support and advice about how to control other weeds, including Weeds of National Significance, contact one of Local Land Services Western Region offices – western.lls.nsw.gov.au

Media contact: Michelle McGranahan 0428 784 282