Have you ever wondered how weeds spread like wildfire, quickly and uncontrollably? Invasive weeds are highly adaptable and compete for resources that support native plants and crop species.  When left uncontrolled weeds can rapidly take over natural and cultivated landscapes.

Weed seeds are designed to be carried by the wind, water and anything they can attach themselves to, including animals and people.

Weed seeds love a free ride and cling to tents, swags, shoes, machinery and vehicles, and are easily transported.

During the dry season, the spread of weed seeds by people, machinery and vehicles is a major problem. However, there are a few simple precautions that can be taken to reduce the spread of unwanted plants:

  1. Wash your car before you travel.  Wash-down facilities are free at Lakeland and Mt Surprise and caravan parks and motels often have car-washing facilities. Be sure to wash your car thoroughly particularly the tyres, chassis and undercarriage.
  2. Shake out your camping and travel gear as you pack up. Weed seeds can attach to swags, chairs, tents and other equipment. Give your camping gear a shake and a brush idown to remove and clinging seeds.
  3. Remove weed seeds from shoes and socks, clothing and backpacks before moving on to your next destination.

Cape York Natural Resource Management’s Conservation Sector Director, Barry Lyon says invasive weeds can seriously threaten native flora and fauna, national parks, waterways and also pastoral and farming land.

“Weeds like grader grass and gamba grass grow by the roadside, and are easily moved to new places by vehicles. It’s a serious problem,” Mr Lyon says.

“The annual cost of weeds species to Australian agriculture, is four billion dollars."

Do your bit to protect the environment and agriculture of Cape York. Remember to wash down your vehicles and shake out your clothes and camping gear before you move on.