Integrated Weed Management

What is a weed?

A weed is a plant that is growing in an area where it is not wanted.

Weeds are plants that live in areas where it is not normally found and can include areas of parks, lawns, agricultural or natural areas. 

They can have a negative impact on the surrounding areas, outcompeting resources, restricting native plant growth, blocking waterways, impacting pasture growth or being toxic to animals.

Most weeds were introduced from home gardens, fodder for stock or used in erosion control.

Why do we control weeds?

Weed control is important to ensure public safety, aesthetics, and biodiversity health, within parks, gardens and natural reserves.

Under the Biosecurity Agriculture Management Act 2007 (WA), local governments are responsible for weed control within their boundaries. 

Other factors to consider include;

  • Preventing trip hazards in paths or lawns
  • Ensuring kerbing, paths and other infrastructure is not obscured or damaged
  • Reducing hazardous weeds like Caltrop (prickles)
  • Reducing fire risk
  • Improving biodiversity within bushland areas by allowing natural regeneration of native plants
  • Maintaining parks, gardens and natural areas to required Service Levels and Standards

Pest plant by-laws

To assist in the control of certain weeds the Shire has by-laws relating to Pest Plants. 

Pest Plants are of environmental concern due to the threat to natural biodiversity and local amenity. 

These weed species include Watsonia species, African Lovegrass and Coastal Tea Tree (or Victorian Tea Tree).

The by-law allows the Shire to serve notice to the owner or occupier of private land requiring the destruction, eradication or otherwise control any pest plant on that land.

Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) offer education and support to Serpentine Jarrahdale residents for six declared weeds. For more information, click here.

What do we do?

The Shire carries out weed management across parks, garden beds, natural areas, road verges, pathways, drainage areas, fence lines, roundabouts and median strips.

A diverse range of methods to monitor, prevent and control the spread of weeds are used, such as:

  • Herbicide applications
  • Mechanical slashing / whipper-snipping
  • Hand removal
  • Mulching to supress weed growth
  • Appropriate plant selection to smother the weeds, eg ground covers
  • Turf management programs (mowing, fertilising, watering)
  • Cleaning of machinery and equipment between sites
  • Staying to delegated pathways and tracks, to reduce the spread of weeds

Herbicide usage

The Shire of SJ uses a combination of contractors and in-house staff to conduct targeted weed spraying, both being licensed and trained to conduct these services.

The Shire regularly engages with and audits our contractors and staff for safe work practices and methods.

Is the herbicide the Shire uses safe?

Herbicides used within the Shire, including Glyphosate, are registered and approved by the Department of Health for use and applied in accordance with the label instructions.  

Glyphosate is low risk to humans and animals, and it is a commonly used, broad spectrum herbicide which is a cost effective method in the control of weeds. 

The Shire uses additives (surfactants) when applying herbicide to increase absorption time of the plant and reduce risk of it washing away. Herbicide is also not applied in windy conditions, high temperatures or when rain is forecast to avoid any off-target risks.

When spraying in environmentally sensitive areas, only those chemicals that are specific to those areas are used. All operators wear the correct personal protective equipment.

What measures does the Shire take to ensure herbicide spraying is carried out safely?

We conduct the spraying where possible around schools during school holidays and try to avoid these areas during school term.

We also avoid spraying areas during school drop off and pick up as best as possible as some parks/ovals adjoining schools are very popular with our local community members making it a challenge to conduct maintenance activities.

Visible signage is erected when conducting spraying works to notify the public of spraying occurring so they can choose to navigate around or temporarily avoid these areas if they wish.

The large majority of works that is conducted by the Shire occurs in open rural and park areas, drainage swales, road edge lines and footpaths.

However, we do spray along the side of houses and where the houses connect with the areas just mentioned.

Other weed control methods

The use of chemicals is one strategy that is considered as being a cost effective and efficient way to control invasive weeds and work towards eradication in isolated areas.

As part of the strategy to control weeds, the Shire also uses a combination of contractors and in house staff to conduct slashing works before and after weed spraying to remove vegetation biomass to reduce the potential of high fuel loads and thus reducing the risk of bush fires. This process slows down the weed growth and delays or removes the production of flowering which leads to seed set, which then assists with the controlling of the spread of weeds in the longer term. During both slashing and spraying activities care is taken to avoid native vegetation.

The Shire is also a member of the Western Australian Local Government Integrated Weed Management Working Group who are investigating new methods of weed management in Western Australia. This includes trialling alternatives to using herbicide sprays.

To date many trials have resulted in low performance and effect due to the length of time to complete works, costs associated with works and other environmental impacts created.

The Shire will investigate all viable alternative options to assist with controlling weeds as the Weed Management strategy is developed in the coming years and the environment and economic impacts they have on our Local Government.

Self-Managed Verges

Any resident with a chemical sensitivity or who doesn’t wish to have herbicide sprayed near their property can register their verge as "No Spray" and commit to managing their own weed management on and in front of their properties to help Council reduce its reliance on herbicide.

This is called a Self-Managed Verge. To apply to manage your own verge, click here.

What can you do to help?

You can play a part in assisting with weed prevention and control using the following tips:

  • Be aware of common weed species on your property and surrounding areas
  • Provide regular garden maintenance, removing and discarding weeds from your property
  • Disposing of your garden waste responsibly using appropriate measures such as taking it to the transfer station or placing in the bin, not illegally dumping on adjacent property
  • Mulch garden beds to reduce weed establishment
  • Report any weeds you see in the community, or ask for assistance in identifying weeds (location and photo is very helpful)
  • Stay on pathways, roads, or tracks to prevent the degradation of land and spreading of seeds

Handy resources

Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale Control of Weeds Policy

Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale By Laws Relating to Pest Plants