Choosing the Right Tree To Plant While Avoiding the Weeds

Australia ( July 28, 2011

Choosing the Right Tree To Plant While Avoiding the Weeds

Choosing the Right Tree To Plant While Avoiding the Weeds

The 31st of July will see thousands of Australians heading out to their local parks in support of National Tree Day – but before they go out to plant a tree, they’re being urged to ask their local nursery “Is this tree right for me?”

Nurseries are able to provide advice on which trees and plants are best suited to specific areas – including which ones are considered weeds.

And the industry’s stepping up its knowledge base through a project being funded by the National Weeds and Productivity Research Program, which is managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Nursery & Garden Industry Australia has shortlisted the top 1000 selling trees and plants and, using an online weed risk assessment tool, aims to define the risk of weed growth in different areas.

NGIA’s Environmental and Technical Policy Manager, Anthony Kachenko, says it’s the first time the industry has used scientific rigour to quantitatively determine what is technically known as a weed.

“We’ve been running the ‘Grow me Instead’ initiative for several years, which has been recommending alternatives for plants deemed to be environmentally unsound,” Dr Kachenko said.

“This new research will provide a new level of confidence about the recommendations.

“We intend to transfer our results into a colour chart, identifying Australia’s six key climatic regions and their apparent weed risks, which can then be tagged onto plant labels when sold.”

Some plants are fine in one area and not in others. For instance Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana) is native to a small area in Southern New South Wales but in Victoria it is a weed which has engulfed native plants across a large area.

“We hope our conclusions will be used extensively across the industry to help nurseries effectively communicate a plant’s weed risk to their customers,” Dr Kachenko said.

“That means that every day – not just National Tree Day – people will be able to plant trees that are compatible to their location.

“Making sure you have a suitable plant isn’t a question of aesthetics, but ensuring you reduce the impact and spread of weeds in your local environment.”

In total, the RIRDC Weeds Program is providing around $12.4 million (GST inclusive) to more than 50 projects, which will report back in May 2012.

More information on the projects being funded is available on the RIRDC website, at

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