Edited by: Michael Fox

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Mulch filter

 

Sunday 10th April, a lovely sunny morning and new volunteers join the team for the second community working bee of the year.

First step, before it gets too hot, is working along the fence between the reserve and Upper Mt Gravatt SS oval. One group continued clearing weeds along the fence line while the other group starting moving the mulch delivered by BCC Habitat Brisbane last month, staking plants and installing a timber edge to contain mulch to create a break between the oval and the bush. The 20cm thick layer of mulch will act to slow the large volume of  water runoff from the large area of the school oval. This allows the water to soak in rather than just run off and also acts as a weed seed filter protecting the bush.

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Kate demonstrates cut and dab

Only partially complete this mulch filter is already working to stop weed regrowth and promote growth of the planted melaleucas (doubled in size) and the clumps of Common Rush Juncus usitatus

Kate Flink, our Habitat Brisbane Officer, also joined us for the morning. Besides helping to move heavy barrow loads of mulch she gave a demonstration on herbicide application using the cut and dab method.  This is an ideal way to deal with thickets of Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata and Small Leaved Privet Ligustrum sinense that have infested this area.

Morning tea for team

Hard work is rewarded with morning tea

At the end of a busy morning we were very grateful for our morning tea (especially the raspberry slice) prepared and brought to us by Trevor and Carol.  Thank you to all the volunteers and especially Kate for her help, encouragement and invaluable information.

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Small Leaved Privet - bush - 5 June 2015 lr

Small Leaved Privet

By: Michael Fox

Discriminating between environmental weeds and similar looking native species can be difficult at times:

Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) may also be confused with native privet (Ligustrum australianum), which is present in northern and central Queensland. Native privet is not a pest plant. (Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)

Working at Roly Chapman Reserve Bushcare with Liz and Marshal, I was confident we were dealing with a grove of Small Leaved Privet but to be sure I Googled the Ag and Fisheries site.

Small Leaved Privet - 5 June 2015 - cropped

Small Leaved Privet – seeds

The description matched except for “Deep-green finely hairy leaves”. Deep-green was right but the leaves looked smooth not hairy.

Liz and I had both watched Todd Sampson’s Redesign My Brain on ABC the night before. In the series Todd works with Dr. Michael Merzenich, Chief Scientific Officer, Posit Science, to explore brain training. Our sense of touch was one area explored in the program so Liz and I decided to experiment with our sense of touch to detect fine hairs we could not see.

Running our fingers then thumbs over the leaves we could feel the “finely hairy” even though we could not see it. Apparently we have 3,000 touch receptors or neurons in each finger tip. However, we lose neurons as we age reducing our touch sensitivity. Brain training can help compensate for the loss of neurons. Interestingly both Liz and I found that, like Todd, our thumbs were more sensitive to touch.

To actually see the fine hairs on the Privet leaf I had to take a macro-photo with my iPhone and AlloClip adapter. Click on photo to enlarge further.

Small Leaved Privet - finely hairy - 5 June 2015 - cropped

.Small Leaved Privet Ligustrum sinense …. Finely hairy too fine to see? Use your touch instead. Photo: iPhone with alloclip