Greg eradicates arum lilies!
A Margaret River man has almost eradicated arum lilies from his 40,000sqm property – and is calling on others to join a region-wide weed control effort to slow down reinfestations.
Greg Burke joined Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s Arum Lily Blitz about two years ago with a goal of reclaiming land from the problematic weed.
“Before I got here, this place ran as a bed-and-breakfast for about 20 years and apart from two acres of paddock, it was a complete infestation of arum lilies,” he said. “It was up to shoulder height in some areas; you couldn’t even see the fence line.”
With support from the Blitz, Mr Burke started spraying in September 2020 and has managed to clear most of the lilies from his block. “I did about 45 hours of spraying in the first year, so it was a pretty big effort, but I actually quite enjoyed it,” he said.
“Last year I did significantly less and there was about a 70% reduction in arum lilies. I’m seeing a lot of native plants bounce back now too, which is nice to see.”
Mr Burke has connected with some of his neighbours, many of whom take weed control very seriously, but he said a handful of others were yet to act.
“As landholders, I think we have a responsibility to take care of our land,” he said. “The trouble is, if they don’t take care of it, it just keeps spreading back to my property. But some people are only here in summer so they don’t see how bad the problem is.”
Spearheaded by Nature Conservation and supported by the WA Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program, the Arum Lily Blitz has been providing participants with free herbicide, resources and subsidies for spray contractors since 2019.
Nature Conservation’s Project Officer Mike Griffiths said the Blitz uptake and response had been overwhelmingly positive, but it was important for residents to remain vigilant.
“We’re continuing to reach out to people in all areas, especially rural residential areas and to absentee landholders, so we can get those final landholders on board,” he said. “With everyone doing their bit, it means we’re supporting each other and the world-class biodiversity of the Capes region.”
Mr Burke put in many hours and worked solo, but landholders in some priority areas can get the cost of approved contractors partially covered by the Blitz.
“I’ve got 10 acres so the first year was a bit of work, but it’s a very manageable now,” said Mr Burke. “I just hope to see people continuing to work together so we can get rid of this pest and bring back the natural plants because it’s such a beautiful area.”
To access free herbicide and to find out about contractor subsidies and other resources, go to www.natureconservation.org.au.
Picture by: Taelor Pelusey