Last week, the CSIRO worked with the Bega River and Wetlands Landcare Group (BRAWL) to release a biological control for Wandering trad (Tradescantia fluminensis). Wandering trad is a groundcover plant native to South America that has become a significant environmental weed of temperate Australia. It forms dense swathes along the forest floor, particularly in moist riparian zones, where it reduces the diversity of native vegetation.
The CSIRO are currently conducting a widescale release of the fungus to control the viability of the weed in NSW with funding from the Environmental Trust. The fungus creates lesions on the leaves of Wandering Trad that cause them to die. It helps to reduce the overall foliage and the ability for the plant to photosynthesise and therefore reproduce.
Wandering trad is commonly managed by mechanical or manual removal or with herbicide, however Wandering trad can routinely regenerate. Also, use of machines and chemicals along watercourses or in native vegetation can present risks. A biological control approach may offer a longer term, more sustainable solution.
Read more about the release of the leaf fungus along the Bega River in this story from the Bega District News.