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Queenscliffe Herald Article - December 2005

Watch for Weeds

Felicity Thyer
Swan Bay Environment Association

This is the time of the year when you need to scan your gardens for any unexpected, uninvited visitors.

As the weather warms up and the spring rains do their job, weeds are liable to pop up uninvited in your garden. I have found many Cotoneaster, Sweet Pittosporum, Mirror Bush and Italian Buckthorn seedlings coming up in my garden. Another uninvited guest is the Cape Leeuwin Wattle. You will see these around Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff. They have the ferny, lacy leaves found in some wattles and sprays of pale yellow flowers. Their seed pods are long and flat, and their seeds remain viable for some years, so they will continue to come up even if you don’t know of a plant nearby.

It is tempting to keep those plants that have been kind enough to grace your garden with their presence, and it can seem a bit churlish to pull them out, but if these plants have found their way into your garden then chances are that they will become a problem.

I have found that the more indigenous trees and shrubs I have in my garden, the more the weeds find me. I blame the increased presence of birds in the garden. They eat the berries and seeds of these weeds then they come and spread the seeds under their favourite perches in your garden. Watch up for patches of unidentified plants coming up – it is much easier to pull them out while they are young.

Watch for plants in your own garden that seem to spread easily, too. I have pulled out a couple of plants in my garden that have been given to me by friends and were not a problem in their gardens but seemed to thrive in our conditions. If they spread rapidly in your garden then chances are they will become a problem down the track.

If you want to know what some of the problem weeds are in our area, visit and click on our part of Victoria. Have a look at the pictures – weeds have many attractive features. They may be fast growing, good for wind breaks, edible, colourful or easy to propagate. If they didn’t have some of these features then we probably wouldn’t have bothered to introduce them in the first place. It is these features, though, that often make them weeds – especially those that are fast growing and easy to propagate.

Keep an eye on which plants are problems in our area and either don’t plant them, or pull them out if you already have them. Be careful of how you dispose of them, too. If they have seed heads then it is probably safest to bag them up and leave them in the sun to die off rather than sending them to the tip to propagate there.

Do the rounds of your garden regularly – pull up any new weeds before they have a chance to flower or consider replacing any of your mature plants that are problem plants in our area.

Come and visit the Swan Bay Community Nursery in 79 Nelson Rd The nursery is open from 10-12 every 3 rd Sunday of the month. Plants are sold for 50c each, and we can offer some good suggestions for plants to replace those weeds. A local brochure “Environmental weeds in Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale” is available at the Council and the Nursery.

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