Declared Plant Policy under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004




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Declared Plant Policy

under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004

horsetails (Equisetum spp.)



Equisetum species are herbaceous, perennial ferns that produce spores in cones at the top of almost leafless stems. They grow in wet habitats as dense clones that extend indefinitely from deep rhizomes. Several species are present in cultivation in Australia but none are currently known to be naturalised in SA.


Management Plan for Horsetails




Outcomes





  • Maintain waterways free of blockages and keep wetlands free of major weeds.




  • Protect grazing livestock from poisoning.




  • Minimise the impacts of deep-rooted perennial weeds on the productive potential of crops and pastures.



Objectives





  • Prevent introduction and establishment of horsetails in SA.




  • Destroy any infestations as they are located, including cultivated plants.



Implementation





  • Any infestation of horsetail discovered to be treated as an incursion and destroyed.




  • Sale and movement to be prohibited.




  • NRM authorities to inspect waterways and wetlands for the presence of water weeds


Regional implementation


NRM Region

Actions

Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Alinytjara Wilurara

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Eyre Peninsula

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Kangaroo Island

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Northern and Yorke

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

South Australian Arid Lands

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

South Australian Murray Darling Basin

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

South East

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected


Declaration

To implement this policy, horsetails are declared under the Natural Resources Management Act, 2004 throughout the whole of the State of South Australia. The movement or transport of the plant on a public road by itself or as a contaminant, its entry to South Australia, or sale by itself or as a contaminant are prohibited. Notification of infestations is necessary to ensure these are destroyed. Land owners are required to destroy any horsetail plants growing on their land. NRM authorities are required to destroy plants on road reserves, and may recover costs from the adjoining land owners.


Horsetails are declared in category 1 under the Act, for the purpose of setting maximum penalties and for other purposes. Any permit to allow its movement or sale can only be issued by the Chief Officer pursuant to section 188. Under the Natural Resources Management (General) Regulations 2005, the transport or movement of grain for milling or wool for cleaning is exempt from the operation of sections 175 and the sale of wool or grain is exempt from section 177(2) if at the time of the sale the person believes on reasonable grounds that the purchaser will remove the plant from the wool or grain before any re-sale.
The following sections of the Act apply to horsetails throughout each of the NRM regions noted below:


Region

Sections of Act



AMLR

AW

EP

KI

NY

SAAL

SAMDB

SE

175(1) Prohibiting entry to area

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

175(2) Prohibiting movement on public roads

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

177(1) Prohibiting sale of the plant

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

177(2) Prohibiting sale of contaminated goods

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

180 Requiring notification of infestations

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

182(1) Landowners to destroy the plant on their properties

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

182(2) Landowners to control the plant on their properties

























185 Recovery of control costs on adjoining road reserves

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X


Review

This policy is to be reviewed by 2020 or in the event of a change in one or more regional management plans for horsetail.



Weed Risk
Invasiveness
There are no records of horsetail growing in the wild from spores in Australia. Establishment as a weed would depend on deliberate planting (as an ornamental or herbal plant) or the dumping of live horsetail rhizomes.
Local spread could be caused by ploughing through an infestation or soil movements. Long-range spread would possibly result from dumping, transport of bulk soil or movement in floodwaters.
Impacts
Most Equisetum species contain poisonous glycosides in the rhizomes and aerial shoots. Equisetum arvense also contains alkaloids that make it toxic to horses, causing a syndrome (equisetosis) that is sometimes fatal. Part of its action may be due to the enzyme thiaminase that destroys thiamine (vitamin B1) in the stomach of the animal. It has also caused losses in sheep and cattle and is reputed to taint milk when eaten in quantity. Equisetum species are also competitive and persistent weeds of crops and pastures in the Northern Hemisphere.
Potential distribution
Horsetail species could grow in moist habitats in the southern part of the State, especially the South-East and Mount Lofty Ranges.

Feasibility of Containment
Control costs
Horsetail can be suppressed in pasture by low-volume spraying with MCPA at rates low enough to allow translocation to the rhizomes before the shoots are killed. MCPA also provides selective suppression in cereals but does not reduce the numbers of Equisetum stems. Longer term control depends on improved drainage and repeated cutting or, for spot infestations, heavy mulching.
Infestations on river banks may invade the gaps left when other vegetation is killed with glyphosate or activated amitrole, but are effectively controlled by dichlobenil at 11kg/ha; picloram, glyphosate and activated amitrole were less effective. In gardens it is very difficult to kill by herbicides or cultivation but may be shaded out over a long period.
Persistence
A horsetail infestation would be expected to persist for several years as eradication treatments continued due to repeated regrowth from underground rhizomes.
Current distribution
No species of Equisetum is known to be naturalised in South Australia. E. hyemale and E. arvense have previously been found in cultivation.


State Level Risk Assessment

Assessment using the Biosecurity SA Weed Risk Management System gave the following comparative weed risk and feasibility of containment scores by land use:




Land use


Weed Risk

Feasibility of control

Response at State Level


Grazing

low

25


very high

2


monitor

Irrigated pastures

medium

67


very high

2


contain spread,

alert


Vegetables

low

29


very high

1


monitor

Aquatic

medium

98


very high

2


contain spread,

alert


Urban

negligible

8


very high

1


monitor



Considerations

Due to their apparent absence from the State and very high feasibility of control, horsetails are regarded as a State Alert Weed and a high priority surveillance target to increase the likelihood of early detection.


Equisetum has long-established uses in herbal medicine. E. arvense is strongly astringent and is used as a styptic on wounds and skin eruptions. It is also taken internally against ulcers and haemorrhages and as a diuretic. E. debile is used for similar purposes in Chinese medicine. Other species are likely to have similar properties, although some such as E. hyemale are too hard and abrasive for this use.
Equisetum arvense accumulates selenium from the soil, and has attracted attention as a source of this trace element. It also contains the alkaloid equisetine, which is toxic in high doses. Dried foliage of E. arvense is imported and sold for medicinal and cosmetic use, but the plant is not cultivated in Australia for this purpose.
Synonymy
Equisetum L., Sp. Pl. 1061 (1753).
Species that may be encountered include
Equisetum arvense L., Sp. Pl. 1062 (1753)

Equisetum debile Roxb. ex Vaucher, Mém. Soc. Phys. Genève 1:387 (1822).

Equisetum hyemale L., Sp. Pl. 1062 (1753)

Equiseum ramosissimum Desf., Fl. Atlant. 2: 398 (1799)

Equisetum sylvaticum L., Sp. Pl. 1061 (1753)
Common names include bottle brush, coda de cavallo, corncob plant, dill grass, Dutch rush, foxtail rush, horsepipes, joint grass, mares tail, meadow pine, pewterwort, scouring rush, shave grass and snake grass.


Hon Ian Hunter MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
Date: 28 July 2014


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