IT LOOKS like a harmless, tiny fern but one Brazilian weed has caused a Palmwoods-based environmental services firm to call in a tank.

Or the 'Truxor 5045', as Adam Farr's new weed-eradication machine is known among friends.

Mr Farr's business, Farr Environmental Services, purchased the Swedish-built Truxor 5045 to deal with the environmental problem caused by Salvinia molesta.

The small fern is also known as Kariba Weed or Salvinia, and forms a thick mat that can quickly cover water bodies, choking other plants and starving the water of oxygen.

It can cause a "catastrophic ecosystem shift" if not eradicated quickly in affected areas, says lakes and waterbodies expert Chris Walker, of Covey Associates.

"It'll cause depletion of oxygen and then you get algal blooms because there's no oxygen," Mr Walker said. "That's where you get your catastrophic ecosystem shift."


Adam Farr ownes Palmwoods based Farr Environmental Services and has recently purchased the Swedish-built Truxor 5054 to deal with the problem caused by Salvinia molesta, a fern which forms a thick mats that can quickly cover water bodies. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily
Adam Farr, of Palmwoods-based Farr Environmental Services, with his new Truxor 5045 in action Patrick Woods

While the machine will be useful for Salvinia removal, the weed is unlikely to become a serious threat on the Sunshine Coast, thanks to early intervention efforts of Sunshine Coast Council, Mr Walker said.

Adam Farr said the Truxor 5045 was one of three in Australia, and the only model of its kind in south-east Queensland.

"We believe we can service a broad area across south-east Queensland where dams, lakes, rivers and other waterways are prevalent," Mr Farr said.

He said weed infestations in dams and waterways were a major problem as they reduced water flow, degraded water quality while also affecting native animals, stock, and recreational users.

"The Truxor 5045 allows us access to the hardest to reach places and has many different attachments to aid in the removal of any type of water weeds," he said.

"We can cut them, pull them out by the roots or remove free-floating weeds from the surface of the water by skimming along the top of the waterway."

If debris was allowed to build up during flooding, it could cause bridges and fences to collapse, he said.

"Water flow can be reduced for irrigation equipment, increasing pumping times and costs; and it can prevent access by stock to drinking water.

"These weeds are also dangerous for children and livestock as they can become entangled in heavy infestations and also create mosquito-breeding habitat.

"The weeds can also impact upon recreational activities such as boating, fishing and swimming; and spoil the natural beauty of open water bodies such as dams and lakes."

The weed is spread mainly by people emptying aquariums and ponds into waterways as well as water currents and fouling of fishing equipment and boat trailers.

Contact Farr Environmental Services on (07) 5457 3130.