Dallip Springs bounces back from arum invasion
Hundreds of endemic species have been planted at Dallip Spring giving the ecologically sensitive site a leg up in its battle against arum lilies.
Community volunteers and nearby landholders have been successfully controlling arum lilies around this unique spring for years and are now beginning to see the fruits of their labours.
The spring flows year-round via a small creek into the Margaret River, and the vegetation includes numerous small delicate native plants and provides habitat for frogs, skinks, bandicoots and birds. A sea of arum lilies had been encroaching and was choking out the native species – until help came along.
Controlling the arums was an important step but it was only the first step. Local weed control contractor and arum expert Rick Ensley said the timing was ripe for revegetation, and hoped in coming years the native seed bank would get so dense arum lilies would struggle to edge their way in.
“Even after spraying, arum seeds get into the area from all over the place, with birds and wind et cetera,” he said. “But we’ve decided to give an assist to the natural balance by replanting and creating the conditions that will allow natives, not arums, to reseed. Once you’ve got the canopy, shrubby groundcover makes it hard for arums to come through – even if there are massive seed banks nearby.”
The revegetation involved about 350 plants – mostly sedges and understorey shrubs like Hakea and Acacia – and took place on Shire of Augusta-Margaret River reserve land. The Shire donated eight trays of plants and the project was supported by Nature Conservation’s Arum Lily Blitz, a region-wide collaborative arum lily control effort that began in 2019.
Nature Conservation Project Officer Mike Griffiths said the Blitz had been focussing on arum lily control for several years and it was great to see the next stage now rolling out in many areas.
“Controlling arum lilies has been the focus of the Blitz, but it’s all about regenerating the forests and bushland. Revegetating is essential in areas with large open spaces after arum lilies have been removed to prevent other weeds moving in before the slower-growing native species can establish,” he said. “It’s the next logical step and means the environment will be stronger, more biodiverse and more resilient in the long run.”
Funded by the WA Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program, the Blitz is offering participants free herbicide, subsidies for people using spray contractors, useful info and resources.
Mr Ensley said beyond arum lily control, landholders could further support biodiversity by strategically planting local native species. “Nature abhors a vacuum and it’s inevitable that other plants, like annual grasses, will take the place of arums,” he said. “So if people have taken care of arum lilies, they could look at planting more beneficial species. What we’ve done at Dallip Spring could absolutely be emulated at home … and given the region’s fragmented landscape, the bush really does need that helping hand.”
To register for the Blitz or to get information on revegetation, go to natureconservation.org.au