BLIGHT TO BEACON: MT DARRIWILL Ballan, Victoria, By Roger McRaild, 2019

Just east of Ballan, Mt Darriwill has a prominent position on the landscape of the Werribee River.   Given the ability for serrated tussock seed to move in the wind, it is elevated enough to cast its seeds for vast distances over anyone unfortunate enough to be downwind.  Neighbours on all sides have had their serrated tussock control efforts frustrated as huge quantities of seed blew in.  Well, that is changing.

Two years ago, Serrated Tussock Extension Officer Roger MacRaild visited the property as part of a landscape project for that district.  From that visit, a ‘Rapid Appraisal’ was prepared to outline the problem and what needed to be done. Recently Officer MacRaild noted that: ‘This is a challenging site, but the manager has certainly risen to the challenge’.

In April 2018 the site was burnt to remove the biomass and expose any hidden rocks and hazards.  In Winter 2018 the accessible areas were then cultivated which is known to kill adult plants and bury much of the seed too deep to germinate.  A competitive and productive crop has been planted into this area to break the serrated tussock cycle and provide a quick return on the investment.  In May 2019 the rocky area at the top of the hill has been sprayed with flupropanate by helicopter as part of a landcare project which also covered over 400ha in the surrounding district.

Not only has the land manager seen the need to prevent the impact on their neighbours, he’s also seen the potential that choosing strategic weed management practices can lead to an increase in productivity from the site.  This site is a great example that a solid strategy for treating serrated tussock is a good investment for everyone.

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