NSW DPI urges people to conduct their own backyard blitz
Please note - This news release has now been archived and may contain outdated information.
All townspeople are being urged to conduct their own backyard blitz on unwanted fruit trees, grapevines and vegetables to reduce pests and diseases that threaten commercial crops.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) horticulturist, Julie Dart, said this year there had been numerous complaints to NSW DPI about Queensland fruit fly infestations in NSW council areas outside of the Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone.
"Most complaints were from home gardeners with fruit trees and soft vegetables such as tomatoes in towns. This tells us that unmanaged fruit trees and vegetable gardens are a problem.
"If you grow fruit and vegies, it’s time to look at your own backyard," she said.
Mrs Dart said that insect pests and diseases should be actively managed to keep fruit and vegetable gardens healthy.
"Remove the tree if you don’t want the responsibility of pest management," she said.
"You may be causing problems for your neighbours who grow fruit and vegetables.
"Now is the perfect time to clean up any fallen and unharvested crops, to break pest and disease cycles.
"Controlling pests and diseases in town also reduces the burden for commercial fruit and vegetable growers. When pest pressure is low commercial growers can use less sprays and use biological techniques that are safer for the environment."
Fruit fly is a major pest that can stop commercially grown fruit from being exported overseas or sold into other states such as Victoria and South Australia. Citrus, stone fruit, apples, tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and avocadoes can be infested.
It is the responsibility of the landholder to actively manage Queensland fruit fly. NSW DPI provides advice to landholders and councils on control methods through fact sheets and other education activities.
"If unwanted fruit trees and vines are cut down now before they start growing again there will be less to take to the tip. The roots can then be killed with a registered herbicide applied to the tree stump, which can be dug out later," Mrs Dart said.
"Most councils allow neglected fruit trees to be removed from private land, but check beforehand. Tree prunings, garden clippings and other plant materials can be taken to your nearest green waste depot or local tip."
For further information contact Mrs Dart on (02) 6947 4188 or 0427 918 315.
Media contact: Sarah Chester on (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669