To the uninitiated, paddocks of flowers in the countryside can be a pretty sight.
But if prospective landowners ask around, those pretty paddocks with carpets of the bright yellow flowers of the Saint Johns Wort plant or the purple flowered Vipers Bugloss or Scotch Thistle weeds can be very costly to manage.
Cooma-Monaro Shire Council weeds management officer Roger Roach said weeds are often overlooked when purchasing land and a number of considerations should be taken into account prior to signing a contract.
"Prospective landowners need to know if noxious weeds present on the land they are considering purchasing," Mr Roach said.
"They need to know if noxious weed infestations are being managed or controlled.
"Prospective land buyers should also be aware of the costs associated with weed control, and that weed infestations may lead to production losses if the land is to be used for primary production."
Mr Roach said weeds cost Australia over $4 billion a year and impact significantly on the environment and agriculture.
"Council is prevented by privacy laws from disclosing weed infestation information to prospective purchasers without the consent of the owner, however prospective purchasers can apply to council for a 149(5) Certificate which will indicate the presence of noxious weeds on a particular property.
"The law requires that noxious weeds are controlled on land irrespective of whether it is rural, residential, a lifestyle block or used for agricultural production," Mr Roach said.
Mr Roach advises that before purchase, prospective landowner's should arrange to have someone with knowledge of weeds, inspect the property.
"If weeds are found on the property a weed control operator can provide a cost estimate for control work.
"Council does not provide information on control costs, however, we can provide contact details of experienced weed control operators."
Mr Roach also suggests that prospective landowners ask their solicitor to request a Section 64 and a 149(5) Certificate from Council.
"A section 64 Certificate under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 will provide information on any outstanding notices over the property or money payable to Council in relation to noxious weeds," Mr Roach said.
"These debts and outstanding notices remain with the property upon sale and become the responsibility
of the purchaser."
"The small cost of an independent inspection and a Section 64 Certificate may save you thousands of dollars in weed control."
Some noxious weeds on the Monaro include African Lovegrass, Blackberry, Chilean Needle Grass, Fireweed, Nodding Thistle, Patersons Curse, Vipers Bugloss, Scotch English Broom, Serrated Tussock, Spiny Burrgrass, St Johns Wort and Sweet Briar.
There are three main groups of weeds, noxious weeds, weeds of national significance (WONS) and national environmental alert list weeds, with many weeds classified in more than one of these groups.
Under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 some serious weeds are required to be controlled by landholders and in New South Wales the administration of noxious weed control is the responsibility of the Minister for Primary Industries and the Act is enforced by the Local Control Authority (LCA) for the area, usually the local council.
The Act imposes obligations on occupiers of land to control noxious weeds declared for their area.
For more information, Council's weeds management officer Roger Roach on 6455 1942.