Murrindindi Council tackles invasive weeds on Josephine Cutting track

Alexandra residents may be familiar with the Josephine Cutting walking track that runs from the Maroondah Highway through to Grant Street.

Chilean needle grass weeds stock image
Chilean needle grass. PHOTO: Supplied.

The track used to be the original road into Alexandra from the northern side of the town and is populated with exotic plants, including oaks, and some established native trees.

However, those with a keen eye for plant species will notice that most of the thriving greenery on the track is actually English Ivy.

English Ivy is a highly invasive weed that takes over large areas by attaching itself to plants and trees and smothering them.

Ivy eventually destroys the vegetation to which it is attached and prevents other vegetation from regenerating, depriving habitat and food sources for birds, butterflies and insects.

Murrindindi Shire Council’s Environment Portfolio Councillor Rebecca Bowles said the track has become overgrown with Ivy, as well as various other noxious and environmental weeds.


‘Like all property owners, the council has a responsibility to control noxious weeds on its land. In coming months council, including our new Working for Victoria crews, plan to remove woody, noxious and environmental weeds from the track, including Prunus, Hawthorn, Cotoneaster, Privet and Ivy.

“We’ll be using a number of different methods to treat the weeds. One method is called ‘cut and paint’, which involves cutting the trunk or stem of the weed (as low to the ground as possible) and applying a herbicide to the cut base.

“This kills the plant and prevents it re-sprouting. It is quite targeted and means we can avoid chemical spray drift and fumes,” Cr Bowles said.

Council expects initial works to take several months and will need to revisit these areas over the next 5 years.

Once the weeds are removed, the area will look quite bare. With time native grasses, shrubs and trees regenerate.

While we will cut Ivy that is easy to reach, some Ivy in the upper reaches of tree canopies will need to remain until it dies and falls.

Another section of the track the hillside that you can see from the highway) will also look a bit different. At the moment there’s large Eucalypt and Oak trees and a mid-story layer of woody weeds.

Council intends to remove this mid-story layer and then plant small native trees and shrubs in its place.

“Council’s arborist will also support this project by thinning out some of the smaller oak trees from this area. Removing some of the smaller oaks will help the larger oaks survive because there will be less competition for water, light and nutrients. If we don’t thin and maintain the area, eventually the larger Oaks will die,” Cr Bowles concluded.

For more information about weed management in Murrindindi Shire and the council’s obligations to control noxious and environmental weeds, click here or give us a call on (03) 5772 0333.