Watch out for red berry pest

PEST PLANT: Natural Resources Officer Ben Tucker along side red fruiting pest plant Italian buckthorn.

PEST PLANT: Natural Resources Officer Ben Tucker along side red fruiting pest plant Italian buckthorn.

NATURAL Resources Eyre Peninsula is encouraging people out in the garden this summer to keep an eye out for the declared weed Italian buckthorn, which has found its home in many local gardens.

Also known as Rhamnus alaternus, Italian buckthorn grows to be a large and invasive evergreen shrub.

Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula natural resources officer Ben Tucker said the plants were easy to identify at this time of year.

“Italian buckthorn has a serrated leaf edge, jagged like a saw, and this time of year it also has bright red berries,” Mr Tucker said.

“This weed presents a serious threat to our local environment because it can spread quickly and far.”

He said removing it from local gardens would go a long way in reducing the spread across the landscape.

“There are many ways to remove the plants, including hand pulling smaller plants, cutting and swabbing with herbicide, or using a chainsaw on larger plants.

"One beautiful native alternative is the sticky hop bush, which produces hundreds of fruit capsules that turn ruby red.

“It is not only visually stunning, it has the bonus of attracting many butterflies to your garden during summer.

Italian buckthorn is a declared weeds species, meaning that all land managers are required by law to remove the plant from their properties to reduce spread.

More information is available from the local Natural Resources office or online at www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au

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