RUST may be the answer to ridding rural properties of the dreaded lantana.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and park neighbours have released a new rust fungus to help control lantana weed and restore rainforest areas in the World Heritage national parks between Glen Innes and Grafton.
NPWS ranger Kate Harrison said the new biological control agent, released last week on the boundary of the Washpool and Gibraltar Range national parks, was an extra weapon to help control lantana, an environmental weed that now covered more than four million hectares in Queensland and NSW.
NPWS staff from Glen Innes and Tenterfield had dedicated time and money to reducing lantana infestations in the region.
"We are particularly pleased to be working with eastern park neighbours, Monica and Simon Clayton, who are restoring patches of rainforest on their property," she said.
Lantana is a white and pink flowered woody shrub that invades paddocks and the cleared edges of forests, below 800 metres altitude. Like privet, hawthorn and cotoneaster, it was once an ornamental plant that has escaped. The new rust is only effective on the common pink-flowered variety of lantana. The rust infects leaves, causing them to drop.