THE URBAN Fruit Tree Removal Program has been extended to the end of the month due to high demand.
More than 600 applications have been received for unwanted fruit trees to be removed, free of charge, from residential yards across the region.
Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly coordinator Ross Abberfield said property owners who had taken part in the program had played an active role in protecting the region against the spread of Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) through the elimination of potential breeding grounds.
“There has been strong demand for the program and a steady flow of applications received to have unwanted fruit trees removed, as the community becomes more aware of the role they play in helping to reduce the spread of QFF,” he said.
“It’s great to see home gardeners are getting the message that if you are unable to take the necessary simple fruit fly management actions, or you have an unwanted fruit tree, removal of unmanaged fruit trees is recommended and available free of charge until the end of November.’’
The Urban Fruit Tree Removal Program is available in the Shires of Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Strathbogie, Moira and Berrigan as part of a regional approach to the management and control of QFF.
The program has led to the successful reduction in potential breeding grounds found in unattended urban fruit trees and rotten fruit left on the ground or on trees.
Mr Abberfield said QFF is a serious risk to the region’s multi-million dollar horticulture industry, backyard orchards and vegetable gardens.
“An area-wide management strategy is essential in reducing QFF numbers, with the program just one component of this strategy,” he said
“Fruit fly are generally relatively dormant during winter when the weather is too cold for them to be active, however start to become more active in spring, so now is the time to take action.’’
A combination of management measures should be applied by home gardeners with host plants or trees, such as the use of traps, netting, baiting and spraying where appropriate.
In addition to these steps, people should harvest early and prune trees to ensure they are kept to a manageable size.
“Reducing the spread of QFF is a community effort and requires vigilance and a high level of community awareness,” Mr Abberfield said.
For more information visit www.gmv-qldfruitfly.com.au.