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Invasive ground covers

Find out how to care for your bushland by managing Singapore daisy and other invasive groundcovers.

Invasive ground covers

Article by Rhea Phalan, vector and pest plant officer, Sunshine Coast Council

Groundcovers are some of the most difficult weeds to manage especially when they grow under a canopy of trees. Sphagneticola trilobata also commonly know as Singapore daisy, is one of the most common groundcover weeds on the Sunshine Coast. Singapore daisy is spread rapidly by mowing and slashing when tiny stem fragments come into contact with the soil. This makes it incredibly difficult to contain the spread in areas where there is regular mowing such as along nature-strips and roadsides. Singapore daisy smothers native ground covers and desirable pasture grasses and reduces biodiversity. It is important if you live next to an environmentally significant area such as a national park or a council managed conservation reserve to ensure that you don’t spread weeds into these protected areas.

Council is working with residents across the coast to control Singapore daisy in strategic areas such as adjacent to bushland reserves. Council is providing advice on control options and access to free weed control hire equipment.

Caroline Elis lives on the edge of Coonoowrin national park on the Sunshine Coast. She has used one of council’s backpack kits to manage a large patch of Singapore daisy on her property. The Singapore daisy was already on the property when Caroline moved there several years ago. It had spread from the original property onto the National Park next door. This has meant that it requires ongoing cross-boundary management to stop it spreading. In this case spraying the Singapore daisy was successful. In some cases solarisation is an option however with all control methods follow up work and monitoring are critical.

Some other high priority invasive groundcovers that are important to manage include Dyschoriste depressa, basket asparagus fern (Asparagus aethiopicus), creeping lantana (Lantana montevidensis) and ruellia (Ruellia squarrosa and R. simplex syn R. tweediana). Broadleaf herbicides are available for controlling groundcovers like Singapore daisy which target the groundcovers while leaving the grass unharmed. Before you start managing invasive plants it is recommended that you consult the fact sheet for the invasive plant on the Biosecurity Queensland website which provides information on the best control methods as well as on which herbicides are registered for use for that particular plant.

The Sunshine Coast Council would like to thank residents, like Caroline Elis, for all their hard work managing invasive plants on the Sunshine Coast.