What is Arum lily?
Arum lily, or Zantedeschia aethiopica, is originally from South Africa and now runs rampant across the Margaret River region. It is a declared pest in WA and the sale of arum lily has been banned since 2006. It is a hardy plant, reproducing by both seed and vegetatively. Birds easily disperse the seed and rhizomes grow on the main tuber, growing even if detached or if the tuber dies. The above-ground portion dies off about December each year before growing back in autumn and flowering from August to October.
Why is it a problem?
Arum lily infests native bush, important wetlands, pastoral areas and other sites of ecological importance. It chokes out native vegetation, reducing the availability of food for wildlife,
and forms thick, unsightly masses, or monocultures, where diverse native plant communities should be. It is toxic and can be harmful to animals, including pets and livestock. It threatens biodiversity and detracts from the natural beauty this region is famed for.
One of the main drawcards for visitors to our region is the environment, and we need to ensure our natural environment is protected from introduced plant species like arum lilies, otherwise we risk eroding the very thing that supports visitation and our local economy.
What is being done?
The Arum Lily Blitz is a coordinated, collaborative control program, funded over three years by the WA Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program. Nature Conservation Margaret River and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions are leading the charge, with support from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, City of Busselton, Lower Blackwood LCDC, Yallingup LCDC and the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association. Efforts will involve surveying, mapping, control programs, as well as monitoring and regular engagement with stakeholders. Residents are strongly encouraged to join in and will be provided with free herbicide, resources, training and support.
How do we control it?
The first step in gaining the upper hand is getting everyone on the same page, but to do this, we need to shake off outdated views that prevent people from taking action.
Think it’s a lost cause? It’s really not. In fact, arum lily is an easy plant to kill. It takes just a small amount of chlorsulfuron when the plant is actively growing between July and October to kill 90% of the plants sprayed. Minimal follow up over the next few years will take care of the rest.
Concerned about herbicide? We absolutely understand that. Chlorsulfuron is 100 times more active than traditional herbicides so only very small amounts are needed to be effective. This, coupled with rapid degradation equals low levels of toxicity. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t use herbicide but it is the only effective tool we have against this widespread, devastating weed.
Too difficult? We have all the resources, including free herbicide, to make it as easy for you as possible. If you would prefer to outsource the job, we have a list of highly experienced contractors who will be sure to do a thorough job and minimise damage to surrounding vegetation.
Why should I get involved?
The Margaret River region is famed for its biodiversity and natural beauty. In fact, we are lucky enough to live within Australia’s only internationally-recognised biodiversity hotspot – one of just 35 worldwide. To protect it, we must overcome the arum lily scourge; and to do that, we must work together. We’ve already brought together the major agencies and organisations.
Now we just need you.
The plant spreads easily and rapidly so it’s critical all landholders take part. Even if one property owner fastidiously sprays, they might experience recurring infestations because a neighbouring property owner isn’t acting. Don’t be that person. Be a good neighbour and join the blitz.
How do I get involved?
Register to be part of the Arum Lily Blitz at www.natureconservation.org.au and find out more about assistance available.
For further information contact: Genevieve Hanran-Smith on 9757 2202 or [email protected]