Barossa and Light threatened by Silverleaf Nightshade

Silverleaf Nightshade weed, once established, is very hard to remove.
Silverleaf Nightshade weed, once established, is very hard to remove.

Landholders in the Light and Barossa region have been urged to take steps to look for and control the pest plant Silverleaf Nightshade before deep roots form.

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges (AMLR) district officer David Hughes said now was the time to control the weed to help reduce its impact on local agricultural productivity.

“Silverleaf Nightshade can have severe impacts across a broad range of land use, including crop and vine production, cropping systems, perennial horticulture, annual horticulture and urban residential land,” Mr Hughes said.

Mr Hughes said it was important to keep Silverleaf Nightshade off clean properties and to recognise and destroy all plants before they become established.

“As a declared plant, under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, Silverleaf Nightshade must be controlled,” he said.

Silverleaf Nightshade is a summer growing, deep rooted perennial plant that reproduces from seeds and tubers which emerge, germinate and rapidly grow after late spring and summer rains. Once established, the deep rooted plant is very hard to remove.

As the seed pods and root systems are well-adapted for dispersal by machinery, animals and humans, the weed is likely to have been spread across the Barossa and light region by cultivators used in crop and vine production.

Stock can also spread the plant by carrying seed internally for up to 21 days and under the Act, it is an offence to transport the plant or anything that contains plant parts or seed, sell the plant or sell any produce or goods carrying the plant.

The Act required landowners to control the plant on their land and take prescribed measures for that control.

Silverleaf Nightshade control is most effective when:

  • active control programs are done according to seasonal conditions
  • stock and produce in infested paddocks are cleaned out or shorn prior to transport/sale
  • farm hygiene practices are followed to minimise spread of the plant

To help manage the weed, a new publication, Silverleaf Nightshade Australian Best Practice Management Manual, has been produced by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (PIRSA) in collaboration with NSW Department of Primary Industries.

The new manual combines and updates all current information and is available on the PIRSA website – visit www.pir.sa.gov.au and search for ‘Silverleaf Nightshade best practice’.

Other weeds to control now before burrs and seeds form include Caltrop, Innocent Weed, Bathurst Burr, and Khaki Weed.