Augusta residents are being recruited in the fight against the invasive weed Sweet Pittosporum, which threatens our iconic karri forest.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River are running a workshop at Augusta’s Turner Holiday Park from 10 am to 12 pm on February 8th to help people understand, identify and eradicate the problem weed tree, which often escapes home gardens and infests bushland.

Many residents on bush blocks and rural properties have joined a groundswell to combat another invasive weed – the arum lily – in recent years. But Nature Conservation’s biodiversity officer Mike Griffiths says Sweet Pittosporum also poses a big risk to bushland, particularly around Augusta where it has started to take hold.

A native east Australian tree that grows to 12 metres, Sweet Pittosporum has coarse grey bark and glossy green elliptical leaves similar to bay leaves. The small, white, highly fragrant flowers occur in spring and early summer, followed by orange grape-sized fruit containing seeds that are spread by birds.

“We’ve identified Sweet Pittosporum on properties in and around Augusta, where it poses a high risk of seeding back into nearby bushland. We’re really keen to join forces with locals in an effort to control this weedy tree,” Mr Griffiths said. “Sweet Pittosporum is so harmful because it threatens forest by outcompeting slower growing native plants. It takes over the understory and then as the plant matures it shades out the upper story too. Left unchecked, it even affects our karri forest because young karri seedlings can’t compete.”

Residents from the Augusta area are welcome at the free hands-on workshop to find out about identifying and controlling Sweet Pittosporum in the backyard. It will be led by well-known bush regenerator Rick Ensley. Tickets are free but places are limited, so visit www.natureconservation.org.au or book direct at THIS LINK to secure your spot.

Shire Senior Environment and Landcare Officer Hayley Bain said the shire is pleased to be working with Nature Conservation to help combat this invasive weed, and that the workshop will complement a broader sweet pittosporum control program targeting local bushland reserves around Augusta.

“Sweet pittosporum poses a real threat to our local biodiversity. There are many large established trees and smaller plants spreading into bushland areas and private properties in the Augusta area, and in partnership with Nature Conservation and local volunteers, we will be rolling out concerted efforts in some local bushland reserves to try and get on top of this weed,” she said. “This workshop is a great opportunity for the community to come together to learn more about sweet pittosporum and how to effectively control it”.