Origin: East Gippsland, NSW & QLD
Size: 4-15m H, 4-7m W
Fruit: April to August
Flowers: August to November
Removal time: Late Winter to Summer
What it does
Sweet Pittosporum has a dense canopy that shades the ground and drops lots of leaves. A chemical inhibitor in the leaves prevents indigenous plants from growing beneath. It has contributed to changes in lizard and bird populations by reducing habitat for these species. It is also fire sensitive and the leaves are very flammable. Sweet Pittosporum establishes very quickly and starves surrounding plants of nutrients, water and sunlight.
What it looks like
Leaves usually sit horizontally. Leaves are aromatic, glossy dark green and paler underneath with an undulating edge. Flowers are creamy-white and bell shaped with a sweet fragrance. The fruit are hard berries or capsules, green turning orange when ripe in autumn and winter. When they split they expose 20-30 sticky orange-red seeds.
How it spreads
- by birds, possums and occasionally by foxes.
- by dumping garden waste and contaminated soil.
How to remove it
Remove by hand
Hand removal is only recommended for very small plants, ensure the root system is removed and the disturbed area is covered over with mulch to reduce spread of other weeds.
Cut and paint
Cut plants off at ground level and immediately paint the stump with an undiluted glyphosate based product. This is useful for larger seedlings that are too hard to hand pull but should not be attempted on trees with trunks greater than 50 mm as they are likely to resprout.
Drill and fill
Drill holes 2-3 cm deep and about 5 cm apart, at the base of the trunk. Fill the hole immediately with an undiluted glyphosate-based product. This technique should be used for plants greater than 50 mm in diameter and is best done in active growth stage which is late spring and mid-autumn. Preference should be given to female plants.
Indigenous alternatives to plant
Many alternatives indigenous to the Yarra Ranges region are available and would make great substitutes for Sweet Pittosporum. Some alternatives include:
- Southern Sassafras, Atherosperma moschatum
- Banyalla, Pittosporum bicolor
How to dispose of weeds
By disposing of environmental weeds correctly you can prevent re-infestation on your property and elsewhere.
- Landfill (Weed Wipeout Tip vouchers available for some species).
- Green waste bin ensures that weeds are not able to spread.
- Woody weed stems can be bundled for green collection twice per annum.
- Composting (excluding seed heads or species with vegetative reproduction, e.g. Wandering Trad).
- Burning in accordance with Council and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) prescribed burning periods and regulations.
- Recovery and transfer stations available for weed tipping are Healesville, Wesburn, Coldstream, Lysterfield and Montrose.
Non chemical treatments is often the most effective and safe option especially on smaller scale infestations.
Where chemical use is undertaken:
- Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using chemicals.
- Wear protective clothing and eyewear
- On purchasing your herbicide, always ask for a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or refer to the manufacturer’s website for specific safety guidelines and information.
- Some herbicides will kill other plants and not just the target species.
- Near waterways herbicides can be very poisonous to aquatic life.
- Use chemicals sparingly and be sure that you are using the right chemical and application technique.
- Ensure the weather conditions are suitable (e.g. minimal wind and no rain expected)
- Apply herbicides at the correct time during the plant’s growth cycle so you get the best results.