An initiative to reduce the risk of Queensland fruit fly will involve a community effort across the Goulburn Valley.
The Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Group initiative will give urban residential landowners the chance to have their unwanted fruit trees removed at no cost during August and September.
It has been implemented across Greater Shepparton, Moira Shire, Campaspe Shire and Strathbogie Shire.
‘‘Queensland fruit fly is a serious concern for regions that have a significant agricultural footprint such as Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Moira and Strathbogie,’’ Goulburn Murray Valley fruit fly co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said.
‘‘This is one of several actions from the Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Action Plan.’’
Campaspe Shire Mayor Adrian Weston said removing unwanted and untreated trees was a priority.
‘‘Fruit trees can provide the perfect breeding ground for the Queensland fruit fly, and as such can have a serious impact on our fruit growing industry and home gardens,’’ Cr Weston said.
Greater Shepparton Mayor Dinny Adem urged residents to submit an application.
‘‘Thanks to this important initiative locals can be proactive and submit an application to have their unwanted fruit trees removed to combat the Queensland fruit fly,’’ Cr Adem said.
‘‘Everyone needs to work together to protect our respective areas from fruit fly.’’
Invergordon orchardist and Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Group chair Doug Brown said a community effort was what the program was all about.
‘‘The whole core message is we need a community effort,’’ Mr Brown said.
‘‘People are not obliged to remove trees — it provides some assistance for people who don’t want trees or can’t cut them down themselves.
‘‘The fruit fly problem can be complex and that’s why this is a community project.
‘‘It has probably taken us five years to understand from both an on-farm and trade negotiation (stance), how big a pest they are.’’
Mr Brown said the fruit fly problem was like any unwanted pest.
‘‘It’s a number’s game — two becomes 100 and onwards.’’
Mr Brown said he used a protein bait spray on his stone fruit trees for a specific reason.
‘‘We use protein bait spray that traps the female. Females are harder to trap than males and are the ones that cause the most damage.’’
■Applications to have fruit trees removed from urban residential land are available at participating council offices.