By: Susan Jones

After the fun of last week’s National Tree Day planting of 140 natives to attract birds, bees, butterflies and koalas, it was time to start watering.   Council do not supply water for smaller plantings and we are not permitted to use mains water.   Consequently we have to depend on water from our own garden tanks, which we bottle in recycled 3 litre milk containers and carry to site.  Sheamus shared the load and added a dash of worm juice to his bottles, which will give the plants a good start.  We will continue to water weekly for a month, unless it starts to rain again.

Mirandha and her Griffith Uni volunteer team of Lin, Lyn, Moeko, Thomas and Rashed joined our regular group members and quickly dispersed to water and put mulch around the base of our plantings.   Next, it was back to the tedious task of removing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Guinea Grass Megathyrsus maximus.  Rashed tried his hand at using our Tree Popper, a very handy device that grips and easily pulls deep-rooted weeds from the ground. His target was Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata, an extremely deep rooted weed that is now showing the first signs of flowering.    With the arrival of Spring, the plants will fruit and birds will disperse the seeds all around the mountain and into our gardens.   If we do not get all the plants out before fruiting time, we remove fruiting branches and return later to remove the rest of the plant.

A lot of work was achieved at this regular Wednesday afternoon working bee.   It’s so beautiful in the bush on a sunny winter’s afternoon – why not come out and join us, and meet delightful young people from all around the globe.

 

Griffith Uni student volunteer

By: Susan Jones

“Shall we celebrate National Tree Day again this year, Sheamus?” I asked last year’s volunteer coordinator. “Of course!” was the prompt reply.  As it turned out, we celebrated twice!

On Wednesday  25 July, students and a science teacher from Mt Gravatt High School, together with a team of Griffith University students rallied to plant 100 native tubestock, specially chosen to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, bees – and of course, our resident koalas!  What a great team!  In just over an hour all the plants were in the ground and it was time to protect them with plastic sleeves, supported by cane stakes.

It was great to welcome Griffith Uni students back to our site for this celebration, as they had spent many hours  tediously clearing the area of Creeping lantana Lantana montevidensis  last university semester.

Mt Gravatt SHS team planting

Brush-turkey looking for lunch

On Saturday 28 July, we had ready another 40 plants to be put in by volunteers who couldn’t join us on Wednesday.   When I arrived on site, I found a female Brush-turkey Alectura lathami checking out all the holes prepared for planting.  Her curiosity and anticipation of a free meal made me laugh.

We had …. volunteers of all ages turn up: a special thanks to the three grandparents who more than pulled their weight.

Our 2012 National Tree Day planting was a great success: “ thank you” to everyone involved.

Your generous contribution will enhance amenity  for community users and provide healthy habitat for wildlife in our 66 ha Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Granparents restore Conservation Reserve for future generations

Granparents restore Mt Grvatt Conservation Reserve for future generations

 

Glorious morning to be in the bush

 

Mai enjoys her first Aussie bushcare experience

By: Susan Jones

Persistence pays off … for several weeks now, on Wednesday afternoons,  students from Griffith Uni have been helping Mt Gravatt Environment Group eradicate Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis from an area to be planted out on National Tree Day 2012.

Sheamus, Jonny & Mirandha do a sweep looking for Lantana regrowth

It has been a long and tedious job, but finally, the end is in sight!   What was once a thick weed mat is now clean and native grasses, lilies, lomandras and ferns  are reappearing of their own accord. The chemical action of Lantana species appears to surpress growth of native plants so removal allows natural regeneration of the plants indigenous to the mountain.

Group Leader, Jonny, has been the backbone of the GU student group, and we say a big thank you to him and all the students for the volunteer hours they are contributing to improve our bushland.

Sheamus, Tekee, Jonny, Mai & Mirandha enjoy a well-earned muffin break.

Well done everyone!

By Susan Jones

Tekee and Jonny

We are pleased to welcome back Griffith Uni students to our Wednesday afternoon working bees where they are providing such great support in our bushland restoration work.

We continue clearing Queensland Class 3 weed, Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis.  It has grown into thick ‘carpets’ through much of our local bushland, suffocating native vegetation as it takes over.  It reproduces by seed that are dispersed by birds and other animals as they eat the fleshy red/purple fruit or it can become established in bushland from dumped garden waste.  It spreads across the ground laterally, sometimes rooting at stem joints, forming a carpet smothering native plants.

Jonny, Shasha, Tekee, Sheamus, Susan and Maria-Dolores celebrate their efforts

Rather than poison these weed ‘carpets’ we are digging them out preserving the surviving native plants while allowing the native seed bank space to germinate and grow.  Later, this option will save a lot of effort replanting and watering.

Tekee took on a particularly thick infestation and, with Jonny’s help, was able to roll up the ‘carpet’ and move it into a heap, where it will break down into mulch.   Shasha and Maria-Dolores didn’t let the guys take all the credit though:  they created their own huge weed piles.

Great teamwork everyone … thanks!

 

Turembold coming to grips with Lantana

By Susan Jones

As usual, Sheamus arrived first with his sleeves rolled up to work.  Next on the job were a team of Griffith University national and international students: Mardol, Mirandha, Tumenbold, Jonny, Emilia and Jaime.  An added bonus was the arrival of Peter a newcomer to Brisbane.

Today’s  volunteers took on the tedious task of removing Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and everyone pulled their weight (and weeds) magnificently.

Huge compost pile of weeds - excellent work!

Emilia busied herself collecting and piling up the weeds as they were pulled. The end result was a  huge compost heap that will break down and eventually be spread as mulch.

Preparation of this area is now well underway for the second July ‘National Tree Day’ planting with volunteers from Mt Gravatt State High School.

Thanks to everyone who worked today – it was a great team effort!

Removing weeds with Tree Popper

By Susan Jones

Last Saturday, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) brought a corporate group of twelve young volunteers to assist Mt Gravatt Environment Group with weed removal at the entrance to the Summit Track.   Their main targets for the day were Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis and Mickey Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata.

Group leader, Fabian was interested in trying out our Tree Popper on the Mickey Mouse Plants, as he had not seen one of these used before.  The tool is placed around the main stem of the ground at ground level, the pincers are closed firmly and the tool levered towards the user.  With very little effort the weed emerges from the ground with its deep tap-root intact.

Whilst the blokes were grappling with Mickey Mouse Plants, the girls were rolling up Creeping Lantana like a carpet.  After shaking off the dirt, the ‘carpet’ was laid out to dry.  Once the materials has dried out, it will be returned  to the earth as mulch.

Rolling up Creeping Lantana

Thanks to Conservation Volunteers Australia  and the volunteers for a great day’s work!

Conservation Volunteers organise groups of local volunteers, often corporate groups, as well as volunteers from around Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the world.