A Prickly Subject

Not all weeds need a helicopter to deal with them … but prickly acacia does!

Recognised as a weed of national significance, prickly acacia was introduced into Queensland for shade and fodder. But as the plant increases in size, it outcompetes pasture for water — while its thorny thickets interfere with mustering, movement of stock and access to water.

Gulf Savannah NRM has been identifying, mapping and controlling new and isolated prickly acacia incursions throughout the Northern Gulf region for the past several years.

The management program, supported by funding from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, has continued to gain ground in addressing this emerging threat.

‘We’re relatively lucky in our region compared to the spread of prickly acacia in the Southern Gulf,’ said Marcus Mulholland, Gulf Savannah NRM’s Environment Team Leader.

An awareness campaign resulted in 13 landholder reports of possible incursions — but as it is easily confused with other prickle bushes — only six properties were confirmed to have prickly acacia.

‘Identification was usually carried out on the ground, but we also conducted aerial surveys, including downstream from the sites where there was a positive identification.’

Extensive expert aerial reconnaissance was carried out along the Einasleigh and Gilbert rivers, downstream of known incursions, but no new populations were identified.

‘The project has significantly increased data on the locations of incursions in our region. There are two larger pockets of pricky acacia as well as a small number of minor incursions — these were all treated as part of this program and we’ve made substantial inroads into addressing the spread,’ explained Marcus.

Read the full article in the Gulf Croaker, including our identification guide for prickle bushes:


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