Panic over infestation

The tumbleweeds at a Truganina property. Photos: Supplied/Marly Tulua Singh 224092_01

By Alesha Capone

Large tumbleweeds are causing a nightmare for residents living in part of Truganina.

The serrated tussock – also known as hairy panic – is being blown into the houses and gardens of the Forsyth Park area.

Local man Sam Mathew said that since early November, strong winds have carried the tumbleweeds from the nearby 44-hectare Truganina South Nature Reserve onto residential properties.

It is believed the problem has been exacerbated by a lack of maintenance at the reserve since March, due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

“It (the tumbleweeds) all comes inside the house … it is in our front yard and backyard, it just hangs around the property,” Mr Mathew said.

“You can’t vacuum it up easily from the carpet, it’s really long and thin, and you have to pick it out manually.

“It’s really sharp as well, and gets stuck in the carpet.

“Some other residents have had the weeds right on their front door and garage, and can’t even get in and out of their homes.”

Mr Mathew said his wife and some other residents have allergic reactions to the weeds including rashes.

“When you’re drying your clothes outside, it gets into them and the pricks are very sharp,” he said.

“It gets into the trampoline and scratches the kids.

“It’s terrible, my vegie patch is all messed up.”

Residents are also worried the weeds could pose a fire danger.

Mr Mathew said that when he and other residents first began contacting authorities about the tumbleweeds, they “passed the buck” or did not take the matter seriously.

However, he said this changed once they contacted Tarneit MP Sarah Connolly,

“She really took it up and she really helped us out,” he said.

Earlier this month, Ms Connolly organised a Zoom meeting between residents, Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and other bodies.

Mr Mathew said contractors from Wyndham council have since been cleaning up the weeds.

Parks Victoria is also looking at temporarily installing higher fences around the reserve.

Ms Connolly said DELWP and Parks Victoria confirmed their commitment to removing the weed from the area

and explained in more detail the negative impact the weed is having on the biodiversity of

the conservation reserve. The resilience of the weed means that this will take a few years to

complete as it rejuvenates.

She said a community fire safety briefing for residents is also being organised with the Truganina


“I am committed to providing affected residents with ongoing support, now and in years to

come until the weed is removed entirely.,” she said.