Re-vegetation with native species can be a great way to enhance the local environment, provide habitat for local wildlife and also shade out weeds such as Blackberries and Ragwort. One thing to be aware of is that some weeds thrive in shady conditions and if left unchecked can rapidly take over and smother and kill any of your new plantings and provide no chance for other native species to naturally regenerate. Weeds that already exist in the area and that thrive under canopy shade include Blue Periwinkle (Vinca Major), Arum Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) and Wandering Creeper (Tradescantia fluminensis). A major priority of any project, where shady conditions exist or will be created, should be to control these weeds if they are present. If you are planning re-vegetation these weeds should be eliminated from a site before you start any planting.
A weed workshop was recently held at the Callignee Hall where participants were treated to a BBQ meal followed by presentations from Latrobe Landcare Network Co-ordinator Peter Newgreen and Bob Wilson from the Department of Primary Industries.
Key messages on the night included the following tips
- Weeds have a number of adverse affects on a range of things including, productivity, stock health, impact on native flora and fauna.
- It is vitally important to be able to identify the weed you are a dealing with and know about its life cycle.
- Annual species will only last one season, new plants will only grow by seed. They key to their control is to stop the plants producing and releasing seed.
- When Perennial plants die off on top, they may still have a healthy root system that is likely to re-sprout. To control them you need to kill the whole plant.
- Some species can reproduce vegetatively (e.g by fragments of stem, root or leaf) ploughing in or slashing these species can drastically increase their spread.
- Learing some basic information about plant classification can make it easier to identify weeds. Certain features of a plant can you quickly narrow down the possibilities of what the exact species of weed could be.
- The best way to control weeds is to stop them becoming established in the first place. Key sites to check for new infestations are along watercourses and drainage lines, as well as sites where introduced fodder has been spread, along roadways and traffic areas and around stock camps.
- Integrated Pest Management – (Where a variety of actions are taken to control a weed. e.g use a variety of types of suitable herbicides, good pasture management etc are undertaken) is vital otherwise weeds are likely to become resistant to your control method.
- People tend to notice weeds that are Yellow (e.g. Ragwort) or Purple (e.g. Pattersons Curse) but they don’t pay enough attention to grasses. People need to be vigilant for serious weeds such as Serrated Tussock and African Love Grass.
- Identification of weeds can be difficult, especially as some features used for identification of the plants are not always present e.g flowers/seed pods. If in doubt samples can be taken in to your local DPI office.
- The worst established weeds in the district are Blackberry, Ragwort and there are some patches of Patterson’s Curse. Worst areas for weeds tend to be along watercourses and gullies.
- There is a need for an ongoing education campaign for landholders especially ones that are new to the area and are not aware of the implications of allowing weeds on their property to continue to spread. Landcare can play a big part in this.