Big event coming up next Friday the 7th of February at the Boolarra Memorial Hall. The Victorian Blackberry Taskforce Roadshow is coming to town and is a great opportunity for landholders in the Latrobe Valley and surrounding areas to get the latest on Blackberry control along with other weeds. The day included guest speakers and demonstrators from Chemical Companies (Dow and DuPont), DEPI, Victorian Blackberry Taskforce and a presentation on Biological Control.
We encourage any property managers that are dealing with Blackberries or other woody weeds in the Callignee/Traralgon South/Koornalla areas to attend.
Date: Thursday November 28th
Time: 7.00 pm
Venue: Callignee Hall
Meet with other landholders and work towards a community wide approach to controlling Blackberries.
Learn more about the best methods to tackle Blackberries and other woody weeds.
Report on areas of Blackberry infestation that are of concern in your local area.
We want your input and involvement to help contribute towards more effective Blackberry control at your local level.
Formation of a local sub-group.
Woody Weeds Action Group (Central Gippsland) Inc. is a community group supported by the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce.
“Community partnership projects are geared towards providing community with greater ownership of blackberry management by developing joint projects between community and government and promoting local solutions.”
Had a wander through part of the Traralgon Sth Flora and Fauna Reserve recently and there is a lot to see and enjoy. With spring flowers blooming especially the Eucalypts there is an abundance of food for Birds and Insects to enjoy.
In earlier posts we showed the massive impact that Fireblight Beetles have on the regrowth of some Wattle species following the 2009 fires. This included a massive dieback of Wattles which was most visible in spring followed by a recovery in Summer when the Beetles stopped being active. Well the cycle of dieback has started again and currently the Beetle Larvae are actively chomping away on the new Wattle growth. See this video below for vision of the Larvae in action and let this site know if you can find any activity in a forest near you. This video was taken in the Won Wron State Forest.
Spanish Heath(Erica lusitanica) is a spreading shrub that is very successful at sneakily spreading along our local roadsides and invading our bushland. It has a number of attributes that make it a very successful weed, it is able to spread by suckers as well as seed. It produces a prolific amount of seed with studies showing that a single plants can produce 9 million small dust like seeds annually (Blood 2001).
Once sold as a cut-flower now it is invading native bushland and roadsides
Large infestation that has spread over an embankment.
A large plant like this can produced millions of seeds a year.
Close up of small pink and white flowers
Spreading unchecked along a highway roadside.
The main reason it is able to prosper is that it is often mistaken for a native species, its foliage and growth habit have similarities to species such as Common Heath (Epacris impressa) which is Victoria’s floral emblem. If in doubt about whether or not the plant is Spanish Heath, you can contact the Local Shire or Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) for assistance. (Or submit a photo to this site).
Spanish Heath can be controlled by hand pulling plants, especially seedlings, although to avoid re-growth by suckering, it is important to remove all of the roots. Alternatively larger plants can be cut off at the base and treated with a herbicide (e.g. Glyphosate) as per the instructions on the label. Although there is no chemical registered in Victoria larger infestations can also be carefully sprayed “off label: using a suitable non-restricted herbicide (see your chemical supplier for recommendations).
Avoid slashing the heath as this will most likely encourage suckering and growth of the plant and possibly help spread the seeds. Be careful to dispose carefully of any Spanish Heath that has been removed, to avoid it spreading to new sites.
Many longtime landholders in the local district (not just in the areas that were burnt in 2009) have noticed the emergence of Fleabane (Conzya Sp.) as a dominant weed in areas, especially on roadsides and open areas. A common comment goes something along the lines of “I have never seen this weed before but now it is popping up everywhere” There are three species of this weed that are closely related. The most common one in this district seems to be Tall Fleabane – Conyza sumatrensis, which can grow up to 2m high. Unlike the closely related Flax-leaf Fleabane – Conzya bonariensis, which has multiple branches from the base, it has one main stem from the base with branches containing flower heads at the top of the stem.
Fleabane like many weeds is most likely to take hold in areas where there is bare soil or disturbance and less competition from other plants. The best way to control it is to prevent it seeding, as well as trying to maintain a thick ground cover of more desirable species. This could be done by hand pulling or herbicide for larger infestations, Some sources say that one Fleabane plant can produce over 100,000 seeds. It is a member of the Asteraceae (Daisy) family and like most species in that family the seeds are light and fluffy and can spread a long way when carried by the wind.
Conzya sumatrensis – Tall Fleabane, Showing a leafy new branch.
Flower head (inflorescence) of Tall Fleabane (Conzya sumatrensis) each plant can produce many thousands of wind-blown seeds.
Masses of Fleabane (Conzya sp.) in this disturbed area between a roadside and a logging Coupe.
Conzya sumatrensis – Tall Fleabane, Showing the hairy stems.
Conzya sumatrensis – Tall Fleabane, Growing in an open disturbed site. Note the singe stem from base, with the branched flower-heads.
Ferns are a vital component of a number of the vegetation communities (EVC’s) that exist in our district e.g. Wet and Damp Forests. However when an area is being replanted ferns are often left out of the mix, mainly because they are tricky and more expensive to propagate and may also struggle with being transplanted. The upside is that given the right conditions ferns can easily come back eventually by themselves over time.
A fantastic example of ferns ability to spread can be found in my own garden. I live on a property which is next to farmland and a dry schlerophyll forest, the rainfall average is about 700mm a year and the nearest fern gully would be around 6km away as the crow flies. Over the last year or so I have been amazed at the ferns that have been popping up in my , garden. The first one I noticed was growing in a protected spot next to some tea tree, initially I had assumed it was just a bracken fern (pterdium esculentum) which is common here (like everywhere else). I was in the process of learning to identify my ferns better and one day while walking past this fern I realised it was in fact a different species, which turned out to be pteris tremula (Tender Brake).
My next and biggest discovery came when I noticed to my surprise some ferns coming up in a corner of my vegetable patch where I have a row of citrus trees planted in large pots. I have now had at least 4 different species of fern appear, all of which you would not expect to find anywhere near where I live. In this area as well as Tender Brake, I have found Histiopteris incisa – Bats Wing-fern, Hypolepis rugulosa – Ruddy Ground-fern and what I am fairly sure at this stage of growth are 3 separate Dicksonia antarctica (Soft-tree ferns). With close inspection I can still see some young sporophytes (baby ferns) that are too small to identify the species. I also discovered another spot in the garden where a Pteris tremula has popped up next to a raised garden bed.
The key thing about all the sites where ferns popped up was that they were shaded and sheltered and they had good moisture, in this case as a result of both artificial watering, but also probably because of the milder and wetter summers we had had over a couple of years. Having bare soil would have also been a factor, prior to finding that the ferns were growing I was periodically spraying the area where they were with Glyphosate (Roundup) to keep the grass at bay. A key way to promote the regeneration of ferns on your site may be to provide some sheltered micro-climates where ferns can develop. Logs and rocks not only provide potential habitat for animals to shelter they can also provided a moist shaded environment suitable for ferns to recolonise your site.
The spores responsible for the appearance of these ferns were either possibly brought in to my place via me (off my shoe or clothing) but also possibly by the wind as they are so light that they are thought to be able to carry many kilometres.