New biocontrol agent for Crofton weed already impresses
Article provided by Dr Louise Morin, CSIRO Health & Biosecurity
Crofton weed (Ageratina adenophora
) is found in several areas along the NSW coast and in south-east Queensland. It produces copious quantities of windborne seeds, spreads rapidly and once established at a site reduces its agricultural or ecological value. Following extensive testing, the rust fungus Baeodromus eupatorii
(ex. Mexico) was approved in May 2014 for release in Australia for the biocontrol of Crofton weed. It infects young leaves and stems of Crofton weed. It was first released at a handful of sites on the NSW South Coast in winter-spring 2014. Within 6–12 months of these releases, the rust fungus had caused extensive defoliation of Crofton weed and naturally spread to nearby Crofton weed infestations (in one case up to 15 kilometres away from the release site).