Property owners sustain arum lily control

Yallingup Maze owner Mark Teasdale noticed how big the arum lily problem was after reading about it in the newspaper. Photo by Taelor Pelussey.
Yallingup Maze owner Mark Teasdale noticed how big the arum lily problem was after reading about it in the newspaper. Photo by Taelor Pelussey.

For many years, long-term locals have had a front-row seat to the region's gradual arum lily invasion, but they are now turning the tide and demonstrating how easily and effectively the weed can be controlled.

Last year marked the first year of the region-wide Arum Lily Blitz - a three-year program spearheaded by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region.

It also marked the first year people like Mark Teasdale and Tony Lane finally took the upper-hand in what was fast becoming a losing battle against arum lily.

Mr Lane's family had made several ad hoc attempts over the years to control arum lily, but the Blitz was a major turning point for their large Margaret River property.

After several ad hoc attempts to eradicate arum lilies, Margaret River resident Tony Lane said the Blitz was a turning point to control the weed. Photo by Taelor Pelussey.

After several ad hoc attempts to eradicate arum lilies, Margaret River resident Tony Lane said the Blitz was a turning point to control the weed. Photo by Taelor Pelussey.

"I got onto the Blitz in particular because there was one patch thick with lilies for about two or three acres then through that, I opened my eyes to all the other small patches around the property," he said.

Taking a methodical approach, Mr Lane mapped the property and marked down areas that were infested and where he had sprayed.

Nature Conservation project officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith said Mr Lane's organised and thorough approach would enable him to plan his on-going control effort, building on the work each year and monitoring the success.

The Blitz was also a turning point for Yallingup Maze owner Mark Teasdale, who said he didn't realise how big an issue arum lily was until reading about it in the newspaper.

"I knew it was going to take over and become a bigger problem if I didn't get started because it was basically wiping out all of the native vegetation," he said.

"I started doing the spraying myself, but then I learnt there was some funding available ... so I got the professional contractors in."

Arum lily is a perennial weed that usually peaks in the region from July to October.

It chokes native vegetation, reduces the availability of food for wildlife and threatens biodiversity.

But despite all this, Ms Hanran-Smith said it was a surprisingly easy weed to kill.

"When done correctly, spraying usually kills about 90 per cent of an infestation the first time round," she said.

"After the first year, it gets significantly easier to maintain and people like Tony and Mark will already be reaping the rewards of last year's efforts."

Funded through the WA Government's State Natural Resource Management Program, the Blitz is a three-year program bringing together local and State Government agencies, environmental organisations and private landholders for a coordinated, concerted and sustained control effort.

Participants are provided with free herbicide, easy-to-follow instructions, and a range of other invaluable resources. Register at natureconservation.org.au.