African Olive Pathways Focus for Local Councils and Local Land Services

A joint push is being made by councils and Local Land Services to target mature African Olive that has formed established ‘pathways’ along specific roadsides in the Harpers Hill, Greta, Branxton and Belford areas.

A cross-boundary effort to address these infestations of African olive is underway in Maitland, Cessnock and Singleton council areas.

Matt Kennedy, Hunter LLS Regional Weeds Coordinator said African Olive is a regional priority weed for the Hunter and is recognised as a significant threat to remnant native bushland areas and can dominate hillsides and spread into paddock areas.

“African Olive has a short-term seed viability of around three years and takes four-five years to mature before setting seed. This gives landholders a fighting chance to gain control of this weed species across the landscape,” Mr Kennedy said

“Control work has already occurred within the Singleton and Cessnock council areas along the New England Highway between Branxton and Belford and along Hermitage Road and Old North Road.”

In the Maitland council area major work has previously been undertaken along the Allandale Road with further work yet to commence along the adjoining Highway through Harpers Hill to Greta. These works are supported by control works within the NPWS estate at Rothbury and Belford aiming to protect the significant environmental assets of the area and productive agricultural land nearby.

Furthermore, weed control has occurred in the MidCoast LGA and control works are about to start on a large mature stand within the Dungog LGA.

“By targeting the large mature stands, the aim is to try and limit the available seed to spread from current infestations and stop new ones from establishing,” Mr Kennedy said.

“African Olive is being actively controlled by councils, other public land managers, and private landholders throughout the Hunter Region.

“This priority weed particularly establishes along roadsides usually the result of birds dropping seed from perching spots like fences roadside vegetation and telegraph wires bordering roadsides.

“This allows it to form dense pathway infestations along our roads and bordering properties. It is for this reason the LLS has partnered with Councils and Control Authorities to target these roads and in some cases adjacent land.”

Some new control methods will also be trialled by Maitland City Council within the Harpers Hill area.

African Olive in Branxton along the old New England Highway has been significantly reduced via removal by Cessnock City Council and the weed is also currently dying off from chemical basal bark spraying along Hermitage Road and along the Highway through to Belford from work undertaken by Upper Hunter Weeds Authority. As the stands of this invasive weed die off, you may notice the autumn colours of the leaves indicating an end to a journey for this commuter.

Hunter Local Land Services has provided funding support in partnership with Maitland City Council, Cessnock City Council and the Upper Hunter Weeds Authority to undertake control of this invading species.

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