Shrubs may be on new weed hit list

By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au

LOCAL gardeners are warned the next shrub they plant could be an environmental and economic disaster.

Calliope Shire Council wants gardeners to be aware that plants that may be still available in some nurseries may be on the federal government's hit list.

This follows a call by Conservation Minister Ian McDonald who this week said he would write to state and territory governments requesting they immediately ban the sale of the 20 listed Weeds of National Significance.

They include plants such as rubber vine, lantana, salvinia, bridal creeper and bitou bush.

Weeds pose one of the greatest threats to Australia's plants and animals, and cost farmers between $3.5 billion and $4.5 billion every year in either lost production or in control.

Calliope council's director of corporate and community services Mark Larney said some of the plants on the list are already a big headache for council.

Council fears discarded plants, or seeds consumed by birds would spread the weeds throughout the area requiring control. Yesterday GardenLovers proprietor Janice Lanyon said no reputable nursery would sell plants that were on the federal government list.

"People come to us (nurseries) for advice and we have a responsibility to encourage them to not plant things that might become a problem,'' she said.



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