The next wheel cactus eradication day at Mt Kooyoora will be held on Sunday 29th April. This initiative is being supported by Bendigo Orienteers, Loddon Plains Landcare Network and Parks Victoria. Volunteers are required to participate in the eradication of the wheel cactus plants. The work itself is not very physically demanding but volunteers need to be fit enough to walk to the wheel cactus plants growing on Mt Kooyoora’s steep northern slope. All the necessary equipment and training will be provided. If you are interested in volunteering or want to know more, please contact Andrew Wallace.
About Wheel Cactus:
The Wheel Cactus, native to Mexico, is considered a Weed of National Significance in Australia as it spreads rapidly and is difficult to destroy. The plants produce fruit containing numerous seeds. Birds and foxes consume the fruit, then spread the seeds far and wide. Wheel cactus grows particularly well in shallow granitic soils. The plants have distinctive wheel shaped segments that are covered with fine sharp spines, up to 5 cm long. These can easily pierce a person’s skin.
Wheel cactus plants have been spreading in the northern part of the Kooyoora State Park for many years. If this is allowed to continue it will make this area much less favourable for orienteering events. Furthermore, the natural beauty of this area will be significantly degraded.
A very effective method of eradicating wheel cactus plants is to poison them with Glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup). The poison is carried in a knapsack and is fed through a flexible tube to a hand-held pump that is adjusted to deliver a precise dose of the poison. To the pump is attached a hollow lance with a sharp tip. The lance is inserted into the wheels of the cactus plants and the poison is injected. This method minimises harm to the surrounding native vegetation and keeps the user away from the cacti’s sharp spines.