By: Michael Fox

Ready to climb

Some weeds don’t come out easily so extreme measures are required.

Dale, owner of Climb n Grind, straps on his spikes to scale this 20 metre high weed, an invasive Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis.

Chinese Elm or Chinese Celtis is a Class 3 Environmental Weed:

Starting the climb

“Thousands of small, orange berries are produced and are dispersed when eaten by birds. Celtis often grows in clay soils associated
with alluvial creek flats and gullies. It is an invader of riparian habitats …”

Sales of Chinese Elms have been prohibited for some years however this fast growing invasive weed is still growing in many backyards and spreading to neighbouring backyards as well as bushland areas like Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

In 2012 Mt Gravatt Environment Group has been working closely with BCC Habitat Brisbane Officers to remove large Chinese Elms within the Conservation Reserve.

Time to relax?

Invasive weeds are one of the three key threats to the long term health of this unique Koala habitat. So it is inspiring to work with community members committed to restoration of the Fox Gully wildlife corridor and paying for removal of these weeds on their own properties.

In this case Annette has contracted professional tree climber Dale to scale the tree and to deconstruct it without damage to surrounding building or fences and with minimal damage to the restoration planting.

Walking up a vertical surface

Watching Dale operate was amazing. Having strapped on spikes and hanging an extraordinary collection of ropes, tools, even a chainsaw, from his belt Dale simply started “walking” up the side of this tree, making it look as easy as stroll in the bush.

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High above stump of Indian Rubber Tree

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Climbing with full kit dangling

Towering above surrounding houses this Chinese Elm was significantly more than the 12 metre height mentioned in the DPI document.

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The stump of the huge Indian Rubber Tree removed in 2011 can be seen in the background and way below the branch where Dale is so casually standing.

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Ok we’ve cleared the low branches so it’s time to climb again. Note the fork that was above and to the left of Dale in the last picture is now below him!

Extreme pruning

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Almost finished

That fork is now far below as Dale climbs higher to do a little light pruning.

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Hundreds or even thousands of berries

Working his way back down cutting logs almost as big as himself.s

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The tree was covered in hundreds or perhaps thousands of immature berries that would have been spread by birds or washed down the gully to infect other properties or Roly Chapman Reserve and Mimosa Creek. Prior to targeting Chinese Elms for removal we would remove two or three hundred seedlings each year in each of our bushcare sites so removal of this tree is a significant boost to our restoration efforts.

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