Spreading the word: Cape Tulip weed program

6 October 2017

Spring is the time to identify and control the persistent and toxic noxious weed Cape Tulip.

Cape Tulip weed occurs mainly in the Winchelsea and Buckley areas and can be difficult to control because of its spreading habit and ability to remain dormant in the soil.

Spring provides the best opportunity, however, to control the weed through either manual weeding or the use of a suitable herbicide.

Surf Coast Shire Council is currently controlling Cape Tulip on municipal roadsides and other Council-owned or managed land and is calling on land owners to join the fight.

This year marks the fifth year of the Cape Tulip program, with landowners in the area playing a role in preventing the growth and spread of the weed. Council has sent letters to approximately 150 landholders south of the Princes Highway in Winchelsea and Buckley, seeking their support to control Cape Tulip.

Winchelsea ward Councillor Carol McGregor said the control of Cape Tulip required a persistent approach.

“It grows from corms – which are underground stems – and produces new corms each year,” she said. “Sixty per cent of the stems can remain dormant in soil and spraying will not kill them. They can then take two to three years to flower.

Fellow Winchelsea ward Councillor Heather Wellington said spring was the time to tackle the weed.

“Herbicide treatment is effective when the plant has just flowered and weeding by hand can be effective when the soil is wet,” she said.

“Landowners are encouraged to either start or continue to implement their own Cape Tulip weed control program.”

Cape Tulip is a declared noxious weed under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. People should contact Surf Coast Shire Council if they observe Cape Tulip on roadsides or if there are any enquiries regarding Council’s roadside weed control works.

Cape Tulip - fast facts

  • A pink-orange flowering bulb which appears for a brief 2-4 week period in early spring on roadsides and in paddocks.

  • All parts are poisonous to humans and stock if ingested.

  • Grows to about 70cm high with stiff, erect stems that zigzag as they branch.

  • The longer control is delayed, the more the weed will spread.

Suggested control measures

  • Manual control using gloves and hand pulling of small infestations is possible, particularly in wet soil. It is important to try and remove as many corms as possible.  Any removed corms should be burned, or bagged and put in the garbage. 

  • Chemical control using a registered herbicide just on flowering.