Winter is Time to Watch Out for Woody Weeds; Bitou Bush

Shoalhaven City Council is encouraging the community to be on the lookout for Bitou bush as winter takes hold. June marks the start of Council’s annual Bitou bush control program, with the aim to prevent the further spread of this invasive weed across multiple beaches across the region.

Bitou bush is an introduced species that thrives in coastal environments with significant infestations in the Culburra, Berrara and Bendalong areas. Shoalhaven City Mayor Amanda Findley is encouraging everyone to play their part by locating these invasive weeds.

“Council is commencing the annual Bitou bush control program. The program will aid in the protection of the Shoalhaven’s native flora and fauna and our Environmental Officers need the community’s help in locating these plants.” Clr Findley said.

“Integrated controlled techniques are used to provide targeted control of the weed. Spot spraying, hand removal, biological controls and licensed drone spraying of Bitou bush in manually inaccessible areas such as cliff lines at Bendalong: these are all methods being employed starting in June and continuing throughout the Bitou bush control season,” Clr Findley said.

“It is important that the community report any isolated Bitou bush plants as they can potentially create large infestations within the area, resulting in significant environmental damage,” Clr Findley said.

“As a community we have put so much effort into controlling this ferocious growing woody weed, it would be sad to see us return to the infestation levels of the past. We really need our citizen patrol to be out there looking and even weeding if they have the knowledge to do so,” Clr Findley said.

A Bitou bush can be identified by its multi-stemmed bush with bright green, round, fleshy leaves and distinctive yellow ‘daisy’ flowers, which are clustered at the end of branches. The main flowering season is May to July, which makes it easy to spot along coastal dunes. Further to this, the bush may also have ripe berries containing hard seeds which are black and fleshy.

Community members are encouraged to report isolated Bitou bush plants or infestations they see along the coastline; residents are also reminded to not remove the plant themselves as this may result in accidental spread of the weed.

To report a Bitou bush sighting please contact Council on 02 4429 3111 and ask to speak with the Bushland Management team.

Pictured: Bitou bush flower and seed

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