Wilyabrup estate leads the way in arum lily control

Clairault-Streicker Estate vineyard manager Chris Gilmore. Image - Taelor Pelusey
Clairault-Streicker Estate vineyard manager Chris Gilmore. Image - Taelor Pelusey

Clairault-Streicker Estate is leading the way for vineyards and other large property owners in demonstrating how arum lily control, asset protection and environmental responsibility can coincide.

The multi-property estate has been tackling arum lily in piece-meal portions for the better part of a decade, but over the past few years the problem began getting out of hand across three of their five properties.

Estate senior vineyard manager Chris Gilmore said he decided to ramp up their efforts and brought in contractors about three years ago.

"We try not to store and use hard chemicals, so we bought in the contractors - they have special licenses and are trained in what to do - and it's made such a difference," he said.

"There were areas that were waist height and thick with arums, but now there's nothing."

Clairault-Streicker's efforts last year formed part of Nature Conservation Margaret River Region's Arum Lily Blitz - a three-year program funded through the WA Government's State Natural Resource Management Program.

The Blitz is bringing together local and State Government agencies, environmental organisations and private landholders for a coordinated, concerted and sustained eradication effort.

Mr Gilmore said being part of the Blitz was an opportunity to work with other landholders, ensuring efforts stretched beyond one's own property bounds.

"By protecting our properties, we're also protecting places like the (Leeuwin-Naturaliste) ridge," he said.

"That's a concern of mine; it's a world-class asset and we need to do what we can to look after it."

By bringing in contractors, Clairault-Streicker has managed to control arum lilies across huge swathes of paddocks, natural vegetation and remnant bushland.

Nature Conservation project officer Genevieve Hanran-Smith said an advantage of using the contractors on large properties was maximising efficiency.

"In an ideal world, we wouldn't be using spray, but we've learned by responsibly using just a small amount, we can greatly improve environmental outcomes for our region," she said.

Arum lily was introduced from South Africa and forms thick mono-cultures.

As well as destroying biodiversity and being toxic, Ms Hanran-Smith said it reduced food availability for native wildlife, meaning birds could take to attacking vineyards for sustenance.

Mr Gilmore encouraged others to get involved, saying if everybody made an effort to tackle their patch as soon as possible, it would take minimal maintenance in years to come.

To get involved, access resources and learn about contractor subsidies, register at natureconservation.org.au