Alice Springs Landcare is concerned about the spread of invasive Cactus plants in Central Australia. Invasive Cacti impact upon Australia’s natural environment and threaten to spread across the arid zone. There are 20 species of Cactus that are recognised as invasive and have recently been added to the list of declared weeds by the Northern Territory Government.

Landcare spokesperson Andy Vinter said “Invasive Cacti pose a threat because they can easily establish in the bush and require considerable effort to control. Landcare have been strategically removing cacti weeds around the edge of town before they spread further into the bush. So far volunteers have put in over 1300 hours and have removed 2½ tonnes of cactus. Our concern now is that the cactus plants growing in gardens today will become the weeds of tomorrow in the bush”.

Gardeners are being asked to check if they have any invasive cactus varieties in their gardens. Andy said “The two types of invasive cactus plants include the Prickly Pear varieties (Opuntia spp.) with large rounded pads, and the Rope Cacti (Cylindropuntia spp.) that produce small segments that fall off the plant.” Information about these Cacti can be found at the Australian Invasive Cacti Network or Australian Government Weeds of National Significance websites, or from the Northern Territory Government Weeds Management Branch.

To encourage gardeners to surrender their invasive cactus plants Alice Springs Landcare is partnering with Territory Natural Resource Management to offer a replacement plant voucher for a limited time only. This offer only applies to the replacement of invasive cacti species. To receive this offer contact Landcare by email on info@alicespringslandcare.com. Send in a photograph of the cactus, with your phone contact details and street address. A Landcare representative will contact you to arrange the plant replacement.

This project is supported by Alice Springs Landcare and Territory Natural Resource Management through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.