Ragwort, a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae) and native to northern Eurasia, is a serious “declared” weed in Tasmania and is poisonous to stock. It has the potential to infest at least 64,600 ha in the three municipalities, and in other municipalities has become quite an issue.
Since 1999, Tamar NRM, community groups, Landcare groups, volunteer fire brigades, landholders and the general public have joined together during late January to February to keep Ragwort at bay.
The annual Ragwort Raids are a key enabler for preventing the wide scale invasion of Ragwort, particularly in the rural areas of the Tamar Valley. Collectively, compliance measures, public education, biocontrols and the Ragwort Raids, form this region’s integrated weed management approach for Ragwort. The reduction in the amount of Ragwort collected over the years demonstrates the benefit and effectiveness of a community driven weed control program.
The program includes three to four days of “raids” where volunteers patrol as many roadsides, particularly in key hotspot areas, and pull out all the Ragwort they can see. Any areas that are too large, inaccessible, or on private land are reported to relevant land owners/managers for follow up control.
There are now a surprisingly large number of residents from Launceston, West Tamar and George Town municipalities who target Ragwort. These people have often started as Ragwort Raid participants or inspired through our public weeds education program. Many of the local community groups and landholders regularly control Ragwort on an ongoing basis outside of the official raids.