Council spreads some sugar each day, to keep weeds away

Liverpool City Council is trialling sugar treatment to manage weed infestations across sites in the local government area, following a successful trial at Wattle Grove Lake.

The use of sugar was based on a scientific study conducted by the CSIRO which found sugar reduces seed germination rates of some herbaceous weeds, helping native groundcovers establish.

Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said Wattle Grove Lake was selected for the initial trial as it is known for Bidens pilosa (Farmer’s friends) infestation.

“We want to retain our native vegetation and Bidens pilosa is a common weed that is easily spread by human activities and can outgrow native plant species,” Mayor Waller said.

“The bush regeneration team has an integrated approach to weed management and are trialling methods that are better for the environment and less labour intensive.”

Two test plots were established side-by-side and the trial areas were weeded and mulched to establish a baseline for the treatment. One test plot was treated with a thin layer of white sugar before being mulched.

Sugar was reapplied to the treatment plot every three months and within the first three months, only a few Bidens pilosa plants were present, and at six months no Bidens were germinating.

“The results from the test plots in Wattle Grove Lake are promising, by reducing the use of harmful herbicides it leads to more economical means of weed control.

“The team is applying this methodology across several other locations and will continue monitoring their progress over the coming months.” Mayor Waller said.

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