1938 June: Blackberry spraying starts: 2,4-D, Sodium Chlorate

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MEANS TO STOP SPREAD OF BLACKBERRY PEST

New Spray Proves Effective RESULTS AT FERNTREE GULLY

The first steps taken toward eradicating blackberries from the hill country have proved so effective that it is now hoped that means have been found of ridding thousands of acres of land, tourist tracks, and beauty spots of this creeping menace.

It has been demonstrated that a new type of weed killer will kill this destructive pest. It is now hoped that a concerted attack on blackberries will be made, with landholders, municipalities, and Government departments co-operating.

The extent to which blackberries ha\e| taken possession of the hill country and many other areas of the State has to be seen to be believed In the Dandenong Ranges thousands of acres of valuable and fertile land have been thrown out of production because of the spread of black- berries which in many cases have actually driven the owners out of possession Gullies fence Unes loads paddocks and whole farms are covered with the creeping menace which until now his stoutly defied any economic means to eradicate it

Tourist Spots Ruined

The most appalling aspect of the spread of this terrible weed is that it is .slowly but surely bringing min to our greatest tourist resorts in the near hills. With an insistence that will not be denied it is spreading over fern gullies, glades, glens and favourite tourist tracks, choking out the fern life, and making these once beautiful spots impassable. The curse it of spreading and increasing, taking possession of all.

Spraying, cutting, and burning, and the

Normal means of eradication have proved ineffective Landholders in the hill country have gone through heart breaklng experiences In efforts to keep the weed in check. Many have spent small fortunes, but still have not conquered the noxious menace.

Some time ago the agricultural experts and chemists of the technical services division of Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Ltd determined to attack the blackberry eradication problem.  After long research they evolved a new type of weed killer called Atlacide. which is non-poisonous and does not involve risk of fire from chemicals.

New Spray Evolved

Because of the dangers of stock poisoning and fire by using sodium chlorate and other chemicals which wilI usually kill blackberries, research was undertaken to discover a solution or powder which was non poisonous and non inflammable. The i result was Atlacide which Is a combination of calcium and sodium chlorates and chlorides and Is applied either by spraying or dusting in the form of powder.

A practical test to determine the efficacy of this new weed killer was undertaken on March 7 last on blackberries of extremely dense growth on the Ferntree Gully-Upwey road In the presence of a large number of landholders and Government and municipal officials representatives of Imperial Chemlcal Industries demonstrated methods of using Atlacide by spraying and dusting as powder. The places treated were to be regarded as test plots which would be closelv studied to determine the efficacy of the spray It was also Intended tint the Initial spraying should be followed by others.

Proved Effective

Examination during the week end of the areas treated reveals that even with one spraying Atlacide appears to have achieved even more than was claimed for it.

  The dense and large blackberry canes have withered, and have received such a severe check that with another spraying they should be killed effectively. The chloride in Atlacide keeps the chemicals sprayed on to the leaf constantly moist, thus enabling them to be absorbed into the sap flow and taken right down to the roots. In this regard it appears to have done the job thoroughly’.

Some regrowth may be expected from seedlings which had not appeared above the ground before the first spraying or from roots not completely destroyed. These, however, may be treated during October or November. The one spraying has shown such definite results that it seems certain that if minor regrowths are sprayed before they become established the pest will be exterminated.

Similar good results with Atlacide are reported to have been achieved at various places in the Western district, Gippsland, and at Ballarat