Easter Cassia flower - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata

By: Michael Fox

Around Easter each year you can see the beautiful yellow splashes of colour in our urban bushland as the environmental weed Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata comes into flower.

Our last Friday Bushcare at Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve focused on clearing Easter Cassia before another season’s crop of seed matures and spreads the weed further.

Easter Cassia seed pods - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia seed pods

Diamond-leaf Pittosporum - Auranticarpa rhombifolia - 15 May 2015 lr

Australian Holly/Christmas Berry Ardisia crenata

Australian

Easter Cassia produces beautiful flowers for much of the year. However, it also produces large numbers of seed pods spreading from gardens into urban bushland and shading out native plant species.

You can help protect our bushland by replacing Easter Cassia with native Sennas which have yellow flowers, grow to a similar 2 to 3 metres in height and attract a range of butterflies to your garden. See Toowoomba Plants article on native Sennas and butterflies.

Attractive garden plants like Australian Holly/Christmas Berry Ardisia crenata often become environmental weeds in our urban bushland as they are dumped at garden waste or spread by birds. The moist conditions within Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve make this important habitat particularly vulnerable to invasion by Ardisia crenata.

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Chinese Elm - 15 May 2015

Chinese Elm removed with Treepopper

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We also used the Treepopper to remove a well established Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis. Another garden escapee that crowds out native plant species vital to our native birds, butterflies and bees.

When ever possible we avoid using poison. Instead we pull woody weeds up roots and all with the Treepopper.

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Grey Butcherbird - 15 May 2015

Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus

Our bush restoration work is very satisfying as we clear the weeds and watch the regrowth of native habitat. And every Friday as we work we are joined by a family of Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus looking for breakfast of spiders, centipedes and bush cockroaches. These birds are so used to us now that they will land on a branch right beside you and pose while you take photos or sing cheerful tunes that seem to be thank-you songs.

Removing Chinese Elm with Treepopper

Removing Chinese Elm with Tree Popper

By: Michael Fox

Marshal and I tackled the Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis infestation in Fox Gully Bushcare this morning. Mature Chinese Elms can reach 20 metres in backyard gardens.

A Tree Popper is the ideal tool for this job allowing us to remove all but six larger Elms without using poison. The largest we removed with the Popper as about twice my height with an extensive spreading root system.

In total we removed 40 Chinese Elms, about 30 Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla, dozens of Micky Mouse Plants Ochna serrulata, Camphor Laurels Cinnamomum camphora, Small Leaf Privet Ligustrum sinense and Indian Hawthorne Rhaphiolepis indica.

Chinese Elm with extensive root system

Chinese Elm with extensive root system

The Tree Popper is perfect for use in safely and easily removing these woody weeds in bush restoration sites. The jaws of the Popper clamp around the trunk and the long handle provides leverage to pull the weed roots and all. The Popper is particularly useful for tackling the deep-rooted Micky Mouse Plant.

Using Cyclone 2-Prong Hoe we also removed two garbage bags of Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus and Climbing Asparagus Fern Asparagus plumosus. The long handle and sharp prongs of the 2-Prong Hoe reach past the prickly leaves and the prongs get right under the crown of the plant allowing the complete weed mat to be removed quickly and easily.

 

Source of infection - mature Umbrella Tree

Source of infection – mature Umbrella Tree

By: Michael Fox

After inspecting Fox Gully Bushcare site Zone 10, I yesterday removed 53 small and 6 large mature Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla. A similar infestation in Zone 11 will be removed this week. I also removed a number of Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora and Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis trees, as well as, Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses. These environmental weeds are all spread by seeds being eaten by birds and other animals.

Umbrella Trees, from North Queensland, produce a large number of seeds which are spread from backyards to bushland or other backyards when eaten by birds. The cluster of over fifty small trees in a limited area shows how quickly these environmental weeds can spread and impact on the native plant species or invade a neighbour’s backyard. Seeds from the large trees were bagged for disposal offsite to reduce the risk of re-infection.

Umbrella Tree seeds

Umbrella Tree seeds

Weeds are one of the three key threats to the long term bio-diversity of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Most weed infections are caused by seeds spread by birds or wind, or result from dumping of garden waste including grass clippings in the bush. One of the most frustrating parts of our bush restoration work is dealing with restored areas re-infected with seeds dispersed from urban backyards.

You can support the efforts of Habitat Brisbane

 

Cluster of young Umbrella Trees

Cluster of young Umbrella Trees

Bushcare groups across the city by removing the sources of infection from your backyard.

  • Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla
  • Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora
  • Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis
  • Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses

 

 

 

 

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.

By: Susan Jones

MacGregor Lions Bushcare Team

“Sue! I need you to bring 20 pair of gardening gloves”.  Newly appointed MacGregor Lions Vice President, Shan Ju Lin, had tapped into her many contacts within the Australian/Taiwanese community, organising volunteers from all over Brisbane to assist Lions with their Roly Chapman Reserve Gardens

Another tub of weeds removed

Project July working bee.   Amongst them were young Taiwanese tourists whom we hope will take home happy memories of their Australian bush experience.

Juvenile Grey Butchebird

Garden bed #3 was cleared of many garden escapes and weeds that had been dispersed as seed by birds and animals.  One large pile of mulch was then spread in the bed to improve soil quality and minimise weed regrowth.   A family of Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus sat close by and swooped each time an insect, spider or frog was uncovered: it was a gourmet smorgasbord that the birds relished!

Garden bed #4 was a tangled

Native trees being released from strangling grip of Devil’s Ivy

undergrowth of Cobblers Pegs Bidens pilosa, Mother-in-law Tongue Sanseveria trifasciata, Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata, Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia, Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis, as well as, Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureumthat was slowly smothering native gums.  With so many willing volunteers the garden quickly re-emerged and the weed heap grew to enormous proportions.  A Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus peregrinus was disturbed from its sleep in a gum above and immediately a family of Noisy Miners Manorina melanophrys circled the unfortunate creature, announcing its presence with their shrill shrieks.

Thank you to our great volunteer team!  We enjoyed your company and appreciated the hard work you put in to move this MacGregor Lions’ project forward.  We would love to see you back next month!

At our next working bee on 4th August we will finish mulching Garden bed # 3, remove the last of the Devil’s Ivy and weed roots in garden bed #4 and then lay down mulch.     These two beds will then be ready for replanting with bird, butterfly and bee-attracting natives!

Join the MacGregor Lions team restoring birds, butterflies, bees and frogs to this special environment:

Next working bee – Saturday 4th August – 8am to 10am

Meet at garden #4 (from Hoad Street end of pathway).

For details email – Macgregor.Lions.Secretary@gmail.com

By: Susan Jones

Clearing jungle of weeds

Lions’ refurbishment of the Roly Chapman Reserve native gardens is steaming ahead.

A  thick jungle of garden escapees, including Purple Succulent Callisia fragrans, Corky Passion Vine Passiflora suberosa, Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis, Cobblers Pegs Bidens pilosa and Cocos Palms Syagrus romanizoffiana, confronted  the volunteers when they arrived.

Innovative weed removal technique

Lions Team (l-r) Steve, Baska, Kevin, Glen & Shan Ju

The Cobblers Pegs were over a metre high and covered in seeds, requiring careful removal. The Purple Succulent also required careful handling to ensure all fleshy stems and roots were lifted, or they’d resprout. Baska and Kevin hit on the idea of using a small tarp onto which the weeds were loaded, and then lifted off the beds. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew were kept busy pulling weeds for removal.

Perfect weather, plus a great team produced an excellent morning’s work.  Well done, MacGregor Lions and neighbour Liz!

Next working bee:

Midweek – Thursday 17th May from 3 – 5 pm

Monthly – Saturday, 2nd June from 8 – 10 am

Meet on the concrete pathway at the third garden from Hoad Street end.

For details: email – Macgregor.Lions.Secretary@gmail.com or contact John Spriggs on 3849 6479.

Campbell Newman & Ian trying Treepopper

We were honoured to host local LNP candidate Ian Walker with Campbell Newman and Jeff Seeney at our Fox Gully Bushcare site yesterday.

Late in day and the light was fading however our visitors were still keen get out into the bush and see our restoration work. Campbell was particularly impressed with the elegant design of the Treepopper we use to remove difficult weed trees like Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis and Micky Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata. Specialist tools like the Treepopper dramatically increase productivity of our bushcare team allowing us to start getting ahead of these invasive weeds.

(l-r) Michael Fox, Campbell Newman, Jeff Seeney, Ian Walker

Jeff Seeney, with his Landcare experience, was particularly interested in our focus on natural regeneration. I was happy to show how, in less than twelve months, native Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima has returned to act as Green Mulch in the area cleared of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

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Briefing on Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan

I was proud to explain that sixteen households in our community have committed to restoring the gully wildlife corridors on their properties. However, briefing these experienced professionals on the Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan was challenging, with Campbell in particular, cutting right to the core in critiquing our cost estimates for some initiatives. So we can be proud as a community group to have Campbell Newman sum up the visit with: “Having seen first hand what is being done here I am not surprised that MEG has won two Spotless Suburbs awards in the recent 2011 announcements.”

My thanks to Ian Walker for the opportunity to present our community initiative and Alan Moore, a Fox Gully Bushcare volunteer, who tackled to fading light to provide our excellent photos.