Recent favourable weather conditions and heavy rain events have further spread the seed of tropical soda apple in some areas. Photo: Mid North Coast Weeds
Recent favourable weather conditions and heavy rain events have further spread the seed of tropical soda apple in some areas. Photo: Mid North Coast Weeds

Waging war on tropical soda apple

A STRATEGIC battle has been launched on tropical soda apple infestations.

North Coast Local Land Services, Far North Coast Weeds, Clarence Valley Council and Coffs Harbour City Council have joined forces to control and manage the weed.

A total of $140,000 has been awarded as part of the implementation of the Northern Rivers Catchment Action Plan 2013-2023.

Clarence Valley Council senior environmental officer Reece Luxton said the funding was welcomed.

"The project is assisting landholders with rapid-response control work on tropical soda apple in high priority locations, as well as promoting early detection, education and awareness," he said.

The funding will also allow for the development of specific property weed management plans.

"So far we have secured agreements with five landholders in the Clarence Valley and undertaken rapid response control work along the Tallawudjah Creek and Lower Coldstream areas," Mr Luxton said.

"This is a positive step to reaching our goals for containing this new incursion in NSW."

Delimitation surveys, targeting areas 5km downstream of known infestations, will take place in coming months.

The project will also include workshops to be in targeted areas, around infestation sites, in the next couple of months.

Tropical soda was first identified on the NSW North Coast in 2010.

TROPICAL SODA APPLE

  •  Aggressive prickly perennial shrub, 1-2m high.
  •  Tropical soda apple is a native of north-eastern Argentina, south-eastern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  •  It is upright and has much branching.
  •  Broad-based, straight, cream-coloured prickles scattered on most plant parts.
  •  Leaves are mostly 10-20cm long and 6-15cm wide.
  •  Flowers are white, with five petals.
  •  Mature fruit are yellow and golf-ball size.
  •  When immature they are pale green with dark green veins, like immature watermelons.
  •  Tropical soda apple reproduces by seed and can regenerate from root material.