Poor disposal, such as dumping garden waste in bushland, is one of the main ways that weeds escape from gardens and start growing in bushland and waterways. Some of the ways that you can help minimise the spread of weeds through responsible disposal of garden waste include:
- Never dump garden waste over the back fence or in bushland.
- Dispose of weeds that are already seeding or readily able to reproduce vegetatively, including through suckers and bulbs, by placing them in a black plastic bag, sealing it and 'baking it' in the sun until destroyed. This method alone may not kill all parts of the weed, for example bulbs, and may need to be used in combination with other methods such as mulching. If unsure, contact on expert for advice.
- Cover your compost so that seeds cannot be distributed by wind or animals.
- Be careful when mulching weeds.
- Remove seed heads from plants before they have time to mature and disperse.
- Compost or dispose of garden and green waste in council green waste collections or by carefully transporting it to your council's green waste tip.
- Always cover trailers when transporting plant material to prevent seeds and other live plant material falling off.
- Consider carefully what plants you buy for ponds and aquariums and never dump aquarium water or contents down drains or into waterways.
- Report any weed infested vacant blocks to the local council.
Check with your local council about what garden waste disposal facilities are available in your area.
Some of the worst weeds found in our native bushlands have escaped from gardens. When invasive plants escape from gardens they can reproduce and aggressively invade natural habitats, crowding out and threatening native plants.
According to the CRC for Australian Weed Management, 65 per cent of the exotic plant species that naturalised in Australia between 1971 and 1995 were introduced as ornamental or garden plants.
Some of the ways that you can help are:
- Get to know the weeds in your local area. Contact your local council or ask your local garden retailer for a list of common garden escapees.
- Don't include problem plants in your garden design. Choose safe alternatives, including sterile forms of species that would otherwise set seed. Your local garden retailer may be able to advise you about these.
- Where possible, choose indigenous plants for your garden designs. Indigenous plants are plants that occur naturally in your local area.
- Be careful about buying plants from fetes and markets if you can not verify where the plant originated. Just because it is safe to plant in a nearby district does not mean it is safe to plant in your local area.
- Consider weediness when swapping plants or propagating plants for others.
Even within Australia you need to be very careful about transporting plants from one area to another or from one state to another. Plants that are perfectly safe in one part of Australia may be an environmental disaster in another. Check the weeds list for problem plants before you consider transporting them to other parts of Australia.
Check with your relevant state or territory government department before transporting plants from one area to another or from one state to another.
For more information about quarantine arrangements when travelling within Australia can be found at Travellers' Guide to Interstate Quarantine .
Exotic weeds are those that arrive in Australia from overseas and establish in the country. These weeds are of particular concern because of the damaging impacts they have on the country's primary industries, trade, the economy and the environment. In order to protect Australia from the impact of exotic weeds we need to know what to look out for and what to do when a suspect exotic weed is found.
Imported plants, bulbs and seed including those ordered over the Internet or through mail order must be cleared before coming into the country and some may be banned or require permits. Check with the Department of Agriculture before ordering plant material.
Some of the worst weeds found in our native bushlands have escaped from gardens. Of the almost 3,000 introduced plant species now known to be established in the Australian environment, two thirds are escaped garden plants.
When we talk about weeds in this context some of you might be surprised to find out that we are talking about common garden plants, like Agapanthus or Arum Lilies. Here are some suggestions that can assist you to check your garden for weeds:
- Make your garden a 'weed free zone'. Check you don't have any of the plants included in the weed list that may be a problem in your area.
- Contact your local council for a list of common garden escapees in your area and remove them from your garden. Your council may also have a list of safe alternatives or you could ask you local garden retailer for advice.
- Learn to recognise, or have identified at your local garden retailer, any plant you suspect is invasive and remove it from your garden.
- Monitor your garden to ensure that plants are not spreading and posing a threat to nearby bushland or pastures.
Different weeds have different methods of removal depending on the way they grow and propagate. The CRC for Australian Weed Management has guidance for removing four different types of plants:
- Creeping plants (PDF - 305 KB)
- Wind dispersed plants (PDF - 318 KB)
- Bulb, tubers and corms (PDF - 278 KB)
- Plants with large seeds and fruit (PDF - 323 KB)
Even when you have removed weeds, it is important to regularly monitor your garden to ensure weeds do not re-establish.
Some steps you can take to maintain a weed-free garden include:
- Regularly monitor weeded areas.
- Apply dense mulch - it reduces the chances of a weed re-establishing.
- Replant weeded areas with desired plants and provide the appropriate nutrients to encourage active plant growth.
- Buy weed-free soil, mulches and fertilisers, including manure and be prepared to manage any weeds that may come from these sources.
- Be careful using weeds in your mulch as weed seeds can survive the mulching process. Fine mulching offers the best opportunity of eliminating weeds.
- Ensure that water and fertilisers do not run from your garden into bushland and pasture areas.
- Remove waterweeds from your ponds. Visiting birds can move weeds from your pond into local waterways.