Sagittaria Emergency Response spreads to the small screen

A new TV ad launched by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as part of its Sagittaria Emergency Response has brought immediate success.

DENR Weed Management Branch director Geri Lee said an Alawa man who saw the ad on Facebook and then on television called the Weed Management Branch on 89994567 to report that he had unknowingly bought one of the suspect plants.

The plant was quickly removed and a full refund for the plant and ornamental pot will be provided by Bunnings.

“This is a great result and it’s hoped anyone else who bought the invasive weed Sagittaria platyphylla from Bunnings in Darwin and Palmerston, or Katherine Mitre 10, will see the ads and call 89994567 to organise for the plant to be removed and destroyed,” Ms Lee said.

“Of the 27 plants sold at Bunnings in Darwin and Palmerston in August and September last year only 11 have not been returned.

“And the one plant sold at Katherine Mitre 10 has also not been returned.

“Sagittaria is a Class A (to be eradicated) and Class C (not to be introduced into the NT) weed and has the potential to destroy the Territory’s much loved waterways.

“Top End residents are urged ‘not to be fooled’ by the plant’s attractive appearance.  The pretty white flower spikes can produce thousands of tiny, buoyant seeds that could rapidly affect spread across the Top End.

“Severe sagittaria infestations interstate can restrict flows in wetlands and natural waterways, adversely affecting biodiversity and impacting on recreational activities.

“Since detection, sagittaria has shown it is well suited to the Top End climate, indicating that it may prove to be highly invasive and difficult to control if allowed to escape into the Territory’s environment.

“We know that sagittaria plants can spread very quickly and that’s why, as a precaution, Weed Management Branch officers have already surveyed more than 20 hectares of wetlands in Darwin’s rural area as part of our emergency response.

“Forty two private properties in Darwin’s rural area have also been inspected.

“Two historical sagittaria plantings in backyard ponds have been detected, and with the support of owners, emptied and controlled.  Surveys are on-going.

“Weed Officers have also thanked staff from 12 Darwin and rural nurseries who have supported on-site inspections. No other Sagittaria platyphylla has been found for sale.

“I want to thank the public for their support and assistance in regards to this emergency response and remind property owners they will not be in trouble if they have unknowingly bought or grown sagittaria as an ornamental plant, which will need to be removed and destroyed by Weed Officers.

“Our recommendation to people wanting to buy aquatic plants as part of any landscaping or outdoor renovations is to buy a Taro (Colocasia esculenta).”

The new TV ad can be viewed at the DENR facebook page http://www.facebook.com/denrnt/

Anyone who has sagittaria or comes across it is urged to contact the Weed Management Branch on 89994567.

Go to www.nt.gov.au/weeds for more information.

Last updated: 07 February 2017