Integrated weed management

Landholders in the Upper Macquarie County Council local control area are being encouraged to use an integrated approach to weed management.

The Upper Macquarie County Council is the local control authority for weed biosecurity threats (formerly known as noxious weeds) in the Bathurst Regional Council, Blayney and Oberon Shire councils and the Lithgow City Council areas. The Council is responsible for an area of almost 13,500 square kilometres, 77,000 residents and over 4,000kms of roads. Within this area of responsibility there are nearly 11,000 properties of a rural and rural-residential nature.

“Using herbicides is an important and effective component in controlling invasive weeds, such as blackberry and serrated tussock” said Upper Macquarie County Council Chairman Cr Ian North. “It is important to emphasise though that this is only one component in an effective weed control program.”

“An integrated approach to weed management would involve a coordinated use of a variety of control methods, reducing reliance on herbicides, and increasing the chances of successful control or even eradication.”

“With the increasing rates of herbicide resistance it is becoming increasingly important that a more integrated approach to weed management is used. The best way therefore to manage weeds is by combining herbicide use with non-chemical control options, including physical, biological and cultural control measures.”

“By using several techniques to control weeds the chance that weed species will adapt to the control techniques is reduced. If a herbicide is used over a long period of time, a weed species can build up a resistance to the chemical” said Councillor North.

Upper Macquarie County Council Acting Chief Weeds Officer, Mr Tony Gunning, said “integrated weed management programs require long-term planning, knowledge of a weed’s biology and ecology and appropriate weed control methods.”

“A spraying program can be an effective program for the treatment of weeds however an integrated approach will be more effective but importantly it can be very cost effective for the landholder.”

“A very successful and growing control is the cultural control method whereby landholders encourage the competitiveness of desired species that are more competitive and fast growing. This suppresses weed growth by reducing access to available sunlight, nutrients and moisture and can include:

    • Choose plant and crop species that are naturally more competitive.
    • Use high quality (large and plump) seeds, as they are more likely to produce vigorous and competitive plants.
    • Use increased seeding rates and narrow row spacing.
    • Use shallow seeding techniques, where possible, to allow the desired species to grow above the soil surface more quickly.
    • Ensure the desired plant is placed in the optimum growing environment.
    • Use fertilisers in the optimal growth period to encourage rapid growth of the desired species.
    • If possible use plant species that are native to the local environment.”

“By using these methods landholders will make it hard for weeds to adapt to weed management techniques. Using the same land management routines year after year, particularly chemicals, may result in weeds adapting to these practices” said Mr Gunning.

“The important thing is that there are control programs in place for weeds” concluded Councillor North.

More information on weeds and their control can be found on at

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