Council targets QFF

The Queensland fruit fly.

 Yarra Ranges Council will remove potential host trees for the Queensland fruit fly (QFF).

Works will soon start on council land in high-risk areas to prevent the pest’s spread over the summer months.

The council will remove and mulch potential host trees from public land in Wandin East, Wandin North, Silvan and Seville.

“In September, we asked residents to keep an eye out for the Queensland fruit fly and to do their bit by maintaining fruit trees and picking ripe fruit,” Mayor Len Cox said.

“It’s easy for the fruit fly to spread when there’s ripe fruit left on trees or on the ground, and unfortunately, fruit trees on public property don’t always get the close attention as those in people’s backyards and in orchards.

“Now, it’s time for us to do our bit. Removing these trees will mean we can ensure the fruit fly doesn’t have opportunity to spread, reduces the risk of other horticultural pest insects that spread using unmanaged fruit trees as a host, and also reduces the risk of other biosecurity concerns such as fire blight.”

Residents can help to QFF spreading by pruning and shaping fruit trees to a manageable size.

The council said smaller fruit trees were easier to implement fruit fly controls on, and the fruit was easier to harvest.

Insect infestation can occur when the fruit on high branches is left unharvested.

Anyone who missed the winter pruning window can use spring to train the fruit tree branches to achieve a better tree shape and height.

Growers can thin the fruit by reducing excess fruit clustered in bunches, leaving single fruit evenly spaced and with enough room for each fruit to grow.