Vehicles are one of the major vectors of long-distance weed seed spread. Viable seed removed from vehicles at roadside wash down facilities was studied at five locations in central Queensland, Australia over a 3-year period. Seed from 145 plant species, belonging to 34 different families, were identified in the sludge samples obtained from the wet particulate matter collection pit of the wash down facilities. Most of the species were annual forbs (50%) with small or very small seed size (<2 mm in diameter). A significant amount of seed from the highly invasive, parthenium weed was observed in these samples. More parthenium weed seed were found in the Rolleston facility and in the spring, but its seed was present in all facilities and in all seasons. The average number of viable seed found within every ton of dry particulate matter removed from vehicles was ca. 68,000. Thus, a typical wash down facility was removing up to ca. 335,000 viable seed from vehicles per week, of which ca. 6700 were parthenium weed seed. Furthermore, 61% of these seed (ca. 200,000) were from introduced species, and about half of these (35% of total) were from species considered to be weeds. Therefore, the roadside wash down facilities found throughout Queensland can remove a substantial amount of viable weed seed from vehicles, including the invasive parthenium weed, and the use of such facilities should be strongly encouraged.
Keywords: Invasive species; Parthenium weed; Prevention; Vehicle wash down facility; Weed control; Weed seed spread.
In addition to providing advice and best practice principles for pest management, the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 ensures appropriate regulations are enforced to reduce and prevent the spread of declared plant species.
Training modules are supplied by the state government and all fleetcrew staff who are certified to perform a Weed & Seed Wash have completed the “AHCBIO201A – Inspect and clean machinery for plant, animal and soil material” course (or equivalent).
What’s Involved in a Weed & Seed Wash
Vehicle Weed & Seed Washes in Queensland
Declared species, the broad-leaved pepper tree
To find out more about these, including where to find them and their opening hours, please speak with the local council for more information.