High demand for the free Urban Fruit Tree Removal Program has led to a further extension of its closing date.
More than 600 applications have been received to have unwanted fruit trees removed from residential yards across the Goulburn and Murray valleys and now property owners have until the end of November to apply.
Goulburn-Murray Valley regional fruit fly co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said property owners who had taken part in the program had played an active role in protecting the region against the spread of Queensland fruit fly (QFF) through the elimination of potential breeding grounds.
‘‘There has been strong demand for the program and a steady flow of applications received to have unwanted fruit trees removed, as the community becomes more aware of the role they play in helping to reduce the spread of QFF,’’ Mr Abberfield said.
‘‘It is great to see that home gardeners are getting the message that if you are unable to take the necessary simple fruit fly management actions, or you have an unwanted fruit tree, removal of unmanaged fruit trees is recommended and available free of charge until the end of November.’’
The Urban Fruit Tree Removal Program is available in the shires of Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Strathbogie, Moira and Berrigan as part of a regional approach to the management and control of QFF.
Mr Abberfield said QFF was a serious risk to the region’s multi-million-dollar horticulture industry, backyard orchards and vegetable gardens.
‘‘An area-wide management strategy is essential in reducing QFF numbers, with the program just one component of this strategy,’’ Mr Abberfield said
‘‘Fruit fly are generally relatively dormant during winter when the weather is too cold for them to be active, however start to become more active in spring, so now is the time to take action.’’
Trees are removed and disposed of by a fully insured private contractor at no cost to the property owner.
Applications to have fruit trees removed through the program are available from participating councils and need to be submitted by November 30.
■For more information about the Free Urban Fruit Tree Removal Program contact the customer service centre at participating councils or visit: www.gmv-qldfruitfly.com.au