Bushcare’s Major Day Out working party
It started out a rainy day but quickly became warmer. This didn’t deter the working party for the Reserve’s Bushcares Major Day Out, though. We started at Duck Point, the area around the northern end of the reservoir.
The students from Kurnai College have commenced with some site improvements – see their wonderful new set of stairs, for example. This area has become quite degraded, with new weeds popping up with the warm weather and rain we’ve been having.
Belinda, the Latrobe City’s Acting Landscape Officer, laid out the tubes of plants selected for enhancing the vegetation around the area. The area had been selectively poisoned earlier with amphibian-friendly herbicides. We planted them and also removed a range of ivy, blackberry and other weeds. We’ll post updates as these grow, to show the improvement over time.
Tree lucerne can be found in two locations and can really be a problem. It is an adaptive plant, and has the capacity to “accumulate huge stores of long-lived seed in the soil”. It’s held in check by wet conditions but with hot weather there is an “explosive release of seed pods”.
Fortunately, seed hasn’t yet set but we will be pulling more of this weed by hand as it continues to sprout.
We planted further along Pipeline Track, which runs north-south through the Reserve, admiring the orchids and wildflowers which are starting to bud. This re-vegetation will extend a delightfully floristically diverse area.
We also made a start on removing the broom which is flowering at present. The Montpellier Broom (genista monspessullana) has pea-like, bright yellow and lemon scented flowers. Like the Tree Lucerne, the seed of broom is spring loaded and can be spread up to 2m from the parent plant when it is released. The seed can stay in the soil a long time, sprouting in particular after fire. It also germinates readily with rain and warmth – as we can see in places around the Reserve. Fortunately, at this time of year, it’s relatively easy to pull out before it sets seed.
Then, afterwards, a cuppa and something to eat – out of the rain.