Host plant removal is a method you can use to prevent fruit fly from entering your home garden. It is the physical removal of unwanted produce plants and trees that are prone to fruit fly attack from your garden. It also includes the removal of neglected fruit trees such as those growing on vacant blocks, in laneways or behind commercial premises. Removal or unwanted and neglected trees can help prevent the build-up of fruit flies in your area.
- Helps eliminate fruit fly breeding grounds.
- Reduces the effort you need to manage pests such as fruit fly.
- Reduces pest pressure on neighbouring gardens and nearby fruit production areas.
What makes it right for you?
Removal of all or even some host plants from your garden will be right for you if you:
- Own your own home (if you are renting you could ask the landlord to remove any fruit trees from the property).
- Live either in a fruit fly prone or free area.
- Are not able or willing to perform essential fruit fly control methods.
- Have surplus produce lying around or left unharvested on trees and plants.
- Want to reduce your work load in the garden.
- Have legislative responsibilities to comply with.
- Have water restrictions in your area that limit your ability to properly care for your plants.
Factors affecting success
- Proper killing of tree stumps to prevent regrowth or removal of roots to prevent suckering.
- Removal and disposal of any fruit left on the plant or tree and at its base (see sanitation).
- Host plant removal requires physical work, consider whether you can do the work yourself, need help or need to hire a professional.
- Removal of trees requires the right equipment to be able to do the work.
- Consider whether you need to remove all host plants or just some to help make your garden more manageable.
- Consider whether you could just prune the tree to a more manageable size rather than remove it.
- Consider whether you are going to replace plants with alternative plants.
- Check your garden to see if you are placing any infrastructure at risk of damage, such as underground pipes and cables.
What to do
Remove neglected and unwanted fruit trees.
Depending on the size and your capabilities, fruit trees and produce plants can either be removed by yourself or a tree removal service provider. You may also want to check with your local council or department of agriculture or primary industries to see if they offer a tree removal service. Once you have removed the tree, apply a herbicide to the tree stump immediately after cutting, or remove roots to prevent suckering. Check the area from where the tree was removed for any regrowth and remove any that occurs.
If you notice neglected host plants on vacant blocks or commercial premises, report it to your local council or department of agriculture or primary industries.
When to do it
While fruit trees and produce plants can be removed at any time during the year, the best time is before fruit development. Removing the tree or plant before fruiting occurs will eliminate the work you need to do collect and dispose of the fruit properly (see sanitation).