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Wheel Cactus Growing Along Roadsides

By March 31, 2024Latest News

Whilst we had plenty of rain a few months ago, with grass now dying off, lots of new, little Wheel Cactus plants are becoming more obvious. Quite a few people have noticed these new infestations, particularly along Maldon-Baringhup Rd, and asked us who is going to treat the Wheel Cactus along the roadsides. Mt. Alexander Shire Council (MASC) treat weeds along our Shire roads and have a Roadside Weeds Program. Each year they employ a local contractor (who is a whizz Wheel Cactus killer!) to treat several roads. The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group (TCCG) committee monitor our roadsides and advise MASC each year which roads most need treating. Hence all roads are not treated every year but alternated and done approximately every three years.

As the contractor says “the new plants need to grow a bit so that it’s easier to inject them. And at the moment they are too small, dehydrated and floppy to inject. So, work is delayed until we’ve had more rain”. This time delay isn’t a problem because while Wheel Cactus plants are small and not fruiting (producing seed), they don’t spread further. Understanding the right time to treat the cacti on our roadsides ensures these targeted control efforts can be efficient and effective.

MASC has treated Wheel Cactus along our roadsides for many years, which is why they are not completely smothered with huge, fruiting plants, causing further infestations on private property and public parks. Sadly, new seeds still get ‘deposited’ along our verges from elsewhere which will germinate for many years to come.

We can all play an important role in controlling these horrid cacti.  Wheel Cactus don’t care what land status they invade. That’s why none of us should let our guard down! Please keep working with your neighbours to control plants on your property. Injecting equipment is available for loan from the TCCG, just contact us here on our website.

Another way to help is by keeping a ‘bucket in your boot’ with a spade and glove, and when you see an ‘outlier’, a lonely plant in an odd location, it’s easy to stop and dig it up and take it home to dispose of in your domestic waste. This small effort helps hugely in reducing future infestations. Don’t forget, next time you see the contractor at work, please thank MASC for helping to control this highly invasive noxious weed.