Worst weed trees in firing line
The worst weedy trees in the region are in the firing line thanks a new two-year Woody Weeds Campaign launched today by Nature Conservation Margaret River Region.
And everyone from suburban gardeners to bush block owners is urged to get on board and help stop the spread of the invaders, which jump from gardens to surrounding bushland and reserves.
Nature Conservation’s Arum Lily Blitz is already a high profile campaign targeting invasive arum lilies, but weedy trees such as Sydney Golden Wattle, Flinders Range Wattle and Victorian Teatree also pose big problems by outcompeting native plants and dominating whole swathes of bushland.
“Weedy shrubs and trees are often overlooked because people usually think of grassy garden plants when they think of weeds. In fact, weedy shrubs and trees are one of our biggest threats to native bush because they can spread vigorously, they outcompete local trees, and the seed of many species can last for decades in the soil,” says Nature Conservation’s biodiversity officer Mike Griffiths.
The new campaign is aimed at raising awareness in the community about our region’s most problematic weedy trees, which include Sydney Golden Wattle, Flinders Range Wattle, Victorian Teatree, olives and Sweet Pittosporum. Flinders Range Wattle, which originates from South Australia and is a showy garden shrub growing to 5m, is flowering now and can be identified by its blue-green leaves and sprays of bright yellow globular flowers.
Free workshops for identification and removal of wattles and other woody weeds are being planned by Nature Conservation for the coming months, with information, tips, photos and video also shared on social media.
“We want everyone in the community to be able to ID our worst woody weeds, which in some cases can be confused with natives that belong here,” says Mike. “Once you’ve identified the invaders, you can either hand-pull seedlings or remove larger shrubs and trees with a pruning saw or perhaps a chainsaw. Bigger jobs may need once-off qualified contractors or the Nature Conservation on-ground team to bring an infestation under control, but it’s worth it when you think of the threat to the surrounding forest.
“If you have woody weeds on your property, we really encourage you to remove them because one tree can spread over a large area in just a few years. Instead, replace them with local natives, which complement our bushland and will be beneficial for our wildlife.”
Local resident Gita Sonnenberg and her husband Norman are already on board with the campaign. This week they removed more than a dozen large, weedy olive trees from their property on Kevill Rd and they’re in discussions with a neighbour about removing a Flinders Range Wattle from the fence line. “We are close to bushland and the Margaret River, so the last thing we want to do is be responsible for the spread of woody weeds from our place,” says Gita.
The campaign is funded by the WA Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program, and includes funding to be spent on a 50-50 cost sharing basis with landholders located close to high priority bushland, reserves or national parks.
“If your property has a woody weed problem and is close to large areas of bushland or a national park, get in touch because you could be eligible for funding to bring in contractors to remove the shrubs or trees,” says Mike. To enquire about grant funding, email [email protected] or see www.natureconservation.org.au for more information.