Controlling weeds

Why and how we control weeds

We are responsible for the management and maintenance of more than 150 parks, sports grounds and areas of natural bushland, plus hundreds of kilometres of roads, footpaths and laneways.

A major challenge to keep our important community assets maintained to a high standard is the control of invasive and destructive weeds. We achieve this through a rigorous weed control program.

Why is it important to control weeds?

Controlling weeds in our community assets is important to:

  • ensure a safe and comfortable environment for people using our parks, sportsgrounds and natural bushland areas
  • ensure road kerbs and footpaths are not obscured by weeds
  • prevent weeds from becoming trip hazards in footpaths
  • prevent damage to infrastructure such (as roads and footpaths) caused by excessive weed growth
  • promote the healthy growth of trees and plants in parks, gardens and road reserves, it improves biodiversity values in natural bushland areas, and
  • ensure our parks, sportsgrounds and roads are maintained to a high standard.

How do we control weeds?

We use a variety of methods to control weeds across the city:

  • manually removing them (pulling them out by hand)
  • slashing with a whipper snipper
  • mulching
  • planting ground covers and mass plantings to out-compete the weeds
  • turf management programs such as mowing, fertilising and watering
  • spraying with saturated steam (hot water injected with steam), and
  • spraying with an approved herbicide.

Various methods are used to control weeds, depending on location.

 Location Weed control 
Playgrounds

Hand weeding
Slashing
Steam

 Maternal Child Health centres

Hand weeding
Slashing
Steam

 Pre-schools

Hand weeding
Slashing
Steam

Natural bushland areas 

Hand weeding
Slashing
Mulching
Steam
Spot herbicide application

Parks, gardens, sportsgrounds 

Hand weeding
Slashing
Mowing
Mulching
Ground cover and mass planting
Herbicide application

 Road kerbs and footpaths Herbicide application 
 Roundabouts and traffic islands Hand weeding
Mulching
Steam
Herbicide application 

Controlling weeds with herbicide

The use of herbicide is currently the most efficient and cost-effective way to control weeds, to a standard that meets our community's expectation for a high level of amenity in parks, gardens, footpaths and other public areas.

The herbicide product we use to control weeds across the city is the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority approved, glyphosate.

What herbicide do we use to control weeds?

We use the glyphosate-based product Roundup Biactive®.

Roundup Biactive® is a water soluble herbicide for non-selective control of annual and perennial weeds, and is considered the most efficient and effective method of controlling weeds across the city.

The product is absorbed by plant foliage and green stems and moves through the plant from the point of contact to into the root system. It is inactivated immediately in the soil and does not provide residual weed control.

We use Roundup Biactive® because it is more environmentally sensitive than the original Roundup formulation, and is approved for use in areas such as around streams, creeks, dams, channels and drains.

What is glyphosate?

Glyphosate is a broad spectrum weed killer which works on a wide variety of leafy weeds. It doesn’t distinguish one weed from another.

It is commonly used to control weeds in domestic and agricultural situations, plus on local government land such as parks, sportsgrounds, footpaths and roadways.

Why do we use glyphosate?

Glyphosate is an approved weed killer by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, the Australian government’s national regulator of agricultural and veterinary chemical products.

Glyphosate is used as an approved, effective and cost effective method of controlling weeds in parks, gardens, footpaths and other public areas.

It is the most widely used herbicide by local councils in Australia.

Are there areas where we don't use glyphosate?

Yes.

Alternatives to glyphosate are used to control weeds around playgrounds, pre-schools, child health centres and in sensitive areas such as around wetlands.

In these areas weeds are managed by hand weeding, slashing and by applying steam.

Where is glyphosate used?

The glyphosate-based Roundup Biactive is used to eradicate weeds in our parks, gardens, sportsgrounds, roadside kerbs and footpaths.

How is glyphosate applied?

Our trained staff apply glyphosate in accordance with the manufacturer’s safety instructions.

Before working with glyphosate staff are train in the safe and proper use of the product.

The product is applied as a liquid, sprayed directly onto weeds with a hand-held applicator.

How do we notify people when glyphosate is being applied?

We erect signs stating ‘Weed Spraying in Progress’ before the product is applied and the signs remain in place until the treated area is dry.

In some instances a blue dye is added to visually indicate which weeds have been treated.

Is it safe to use a park after it has been treated?

Glyphosate becomes inactive when it dries, at which time the treated area is ready to be used. 

What should I do if I (or my pet) steps on wet grass that has been treated?

Although the weed killer is diluted to an approved concentration it is recommended you wash any part of your or your pet’s body that has come into contact with the wet grass.

Are there alternatives to glyphosate?

Yes.

Other than treatment with herbicide, we employ a range of weed control management techniques including manual removal, steam, slashing, mulching and strategic planting.

Currently, the most efficient, effective and cost competitive method of weed control is treatment with herbicide. 

Herbicide 'No Spray' register

You can opt out of having the kerb or footpath adjacent to your property treated for weeds with herbicide by requesting your property be added to the No Spray register.

By electing to have your property on the No Spray register you are agreeing to control weeds adjacent to your property to the same standard that would otherwise be achieved by herbicide application.

Sign up to No Spray register

Concerns about glyphosate-based herbicide

In recent years there has been increasing media coverage and community concern around the use of glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup.

As a result, a growing number of cities around the world have banned, or declared an intention to ban, the use of glyphosate amid concerns about its safety and impact on human health.

These concerns exist despite the national chemical regulator, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and many of its counterparts around the world declaring glyphosate safe to use in accordance with the manufacturer’s label instructions.

How we are responding

In response to concerns around the safety of glyphosate we have committed to:

  • exploring the feasibility of phasing out the use of glyphosate-based herbicides for weed control, subject to a suitable alternative being identified.
  • using approved glyphosate-based herbicides in a minimal, selective and targeted manner – in accordance with the label instructions, the product safety data sheet, safe work procedures, personal protective equipment prescriptions and Council’s OHS policies and procedures.
  • where feasible, using alternative weed control methods (such as steam) in priority locations such as playgrounds.
  • maintaining a No Spray register, giving residents the option to opt out of having the area adjacent to their property sprayed with herbicide. Residents on the register would be responsible for the management of weeds adjacent to the property.
  • providing updated training for all staff in the safe handling, mixing and use of glyphosate-based herbicides and the correct use of personal protective equipment.
  • ensuring ‘Spraying in Progress’ signs are displayed during herbicide application by staff and contractors.
  • completing a 6-month controlled trial of alternative weed control methods including steam and non-glyphosate based chemicals to measure cost, efficiency and suitability.
  • continuing to monitor developments in respect to the use of glyphosate.

For more information visit the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website.