Weeds from Maldon to Marrakesh

A presentation organised by Connecting Country was held at the Maldon Community Centre on 13th March 2013. http://connectingcountry.org.au/03/dont-take-a-shotgun-to-the-cactus-even-if-it-is-annoying-you.
The informative and entertaining event featured two speakers. The first was ecologist Geoff Carr, who gave a very passionate and informative talk about how many different plants are categorised as weeds in different regions of Victoria. The 2007 Census of Vascular Plants of Victoria reported that of all the 5793 species and subspecies of sustaining plants (plants not kept alive by gardeners or special care] in Victoria, 1496 are exotics and these are increasing at a rapid pace.  He gave a striking demonstration by spending just 10 minutes in the small garden around the public hall where he had no problem picking samples of about 10 common garden plants, which are classified as weeds in either this local area or another region of Victoria. Geoff’s talk highlight the fact that a weed is not just a plant that is disliked: a weed, if left unattended, will destroy any competition and result in local extinction of other plants in the area. Weeds can also radically alter water catchments and affect food production. Sadly, 70% of environmental weeds began as garden ornamentals.
The second speaker was Ian Grenda, our own Wheel Cactus guru and President of the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group. He gave an entertaining and often amusing description of his various attempts to kill Wheel Cactus (Opuntia robusta), involving axes, shotguns and other inventive weapons in the group’s pursuit of developing the most efficient means of killing Wheel Cactus plants. However, Ian highlighted that the most effective weapon is  community support. Every month 30-50 locals attend cactus killing field days in the Tarrengower/Nuggetty area:  “We’re going to beat it, using the biggest weapon in the world. That’s us—we can kill anything!”