AS spring sets upon Gippsland so does the reappearance of invasive weeds such as ragwort, blackberry and thistles, before the plants set seed and spread further.

Acting leading biosecurity officer Elizabeth Alsop said now is the time to commence weed control programs.

“Undertaking weed control early in the growing season is strongly recommended and is proven to be a more efficient and cost-effective long-term approach to weed control,” she said.

“Ragwort is a particular menace in some parts of Gippsland and sets hundreds of seeds in each flower head, which can remain viable in the soil for many years.

“Weed control measures for ragwort include the application of a registered herbicide, cultivation of the soil, or physical removal.

“Seeds spread by wind, water, animals, farm implements, agricultural produce, such as hay, on clothing and other equipment.

“Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, all landholders have a responsibility to prevent the growth and spread of declared noxious weeds, such as ragwort, blackberry and thistles, on their property, to ensure they don’t adversely affect agricultural production and the environment.”

Agriculture Victoria education and engagement officer Ms Jenny Bell is working in conjunction with Gippsland Biosecurity officers to advise landholders about the control of invasive weeds.

Agriculture Victoria continues to deliver weed projects in Gippsland, with property visits and inspections being conducted when permitted under COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Further information about weed identification and control measures can be found at agriculture.vic.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds or by calling the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.