Hop into your garden this Easter
30 March 2015
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) Leading Plant Standards Officer Tony Carbone is encouraging home gardeners to make the most of Easter break to get in the garden and remove all fruit and vegetables that is attractive to Queensland fruit fly (QFF).
"As many gardeners know, it's extremely disappointing to find your plants attacked by pests before you've had any chance to enjoy the fruits of your labour," Mr Carbone said.
"Home grown fruit and fruiting vegetables are just as attractive to QFF as commercial crops, and there are a number of tactics home gardeners can use against QFF and it's a good idea to talk to your neighbours to coordinate efforts and share knowledge."
A wetter than average summer in 2015 has seen higher QFF numbers emerge across the region. This has caused increased concern amongst industry and the community alike and the realisation that a coordinated effort is required to manage this pest.
Mr Carbone said the department is running the Ground Up campaign to build awareness of the need for everyone across the Goulburn Valley to help manage QFF.
"Everyone with a garden has a role to play in supporting the Goulburn Valley's $485 million fruit and vegetable industry.
"We recommend that if a gardener decides to grow QFF host plants, then they need to be prepared to manage the pest."
Gardeners are advised to use a combination of the following tactics:
Good garden hygiene: Pick and use fruit as it ripens, don't leave it on the plant for QFF to attack. Collect and destroy all fallen, unwanted, or rotten fruit, place it in a sealed plastic bag and leave it in the sun for five to seven days to destroy QFF larvae. Do not add unwanted fruit to your compost or worm farm or place directly into your garbage.
Regular monitoring: A range of fruits are attacked by QFF while fruit is maturing, so it is important to regularly monitor all of your plants. To check fruit for infestation, cut open the fruit and look for maggots. The maggots are quite active and often 'curl and flick', they are 5-10mm long and creamy white in appearance.
Exclusion: Physical barriers can be placed over trees and plants to prevent QFF reaching the fruit. QFF exclusion netting or sleeves, gazebo structures and bags need to be in place six weeks prior to harvest. All these effective options are widely available from garden or hardware retailers.
Pruning fruit trees: Prune back fruit trees to a manageable size, trees should only be the size needed to produce the amount of fruit you will eat or use. If trees are no longer required, best to get rid of altogether.
Helpful resources include:
- Prevent Fruit Fly website
- Customer Service Centre on 136 186;
- online 'how-to' videos detailing the best ways to manage QFF; and
- local nurseries and rural supply stores.
Horticulture Centre of Excellence experts from Tatura are available to help the community utilise the best techniques to limit the impact of QFF this season and next.
DEDJTR wants to work with growers and gardeners to provide access to key information regarding management of fruit trees and veggie patches to anyone interested. For more information please call DEDJTR Tatura on (03) 5833 5222.
Categorised under: Agriculture,Biosecurity