Site inspection 17-11-2019

A quick look over of the site in order to prioritize some projects to work on over the next few weeks. It is good to see those spots where weed removal has paid off and natives are coming back but unfortunately the weeds still dominate this site.

First stop was the creek just above the First waterfall. Cassia/Senna stumpts still need to be removed and maybe even a little more difficult than that is the privet stump I left behind about six months ago. I have had a few half-hearted attempts at this stump but have never actually got it out to date. Unfortunately it has shown itself to be a true stayer, as expected. It’s time is coming to an end…

It’s back again. As expected unfortunately.
Broad leaved privet – for reference
Broad leaved privet – for reference

It was nice to see some ferns holding their ground against the fishbone fern.

I noticed this Prickly Rasp Fern (?) trying to take on the Fishbone Fern about a month ago. I gave it some space and it now appears to be going strong…
West side of the bank still clear from invasives with Bracken Fern going well.
The spot at the top of First Falls is always a target for Mist Flower and Fishbone Fern so I am happy this Bracken Fern now seems to be holding its own

It is a shame that some of the larger trees in the middle of the gully are invasives. There are some large privet trees which will need to go at some point. I intend on confirming they are indeed privet trees before hitting them with herbicide.

Privet tree in center, behind the Tree Fern
White flowers make Privet identification much easier at present
Similar image at different orientation

There was a few other visible weeds I could see from the top of First Fall which will be dealt with soon. A ‘tree of heaven’ that I tried to remove last year has bounced back and there are privet trees and Camphor Laurels that are coming up at present. Best to get to them before they get bigger and tougher. Balloon vine is also showing up more at present unfortunately.

Balloon vine is appearing in more spots
I have failed to accurately identify this one. I thought camphor laurel at first but not so according to google
This tree of heaven is in quite an awkward spot. I had thought I had already dealt with it last year but here it is again…
Tree of heaven – for reference
Same tree at different angle…

Lots of work to be done…

Fighting Fishbone Fern – 3hrs – 09.11.2019

Spring is here and the weather has been perfect to get some bush regeneration sorted.
My object was clear, remove the remaining lantana on the East bank that overhangs 2nd fall. I was doing this a few days back when I decided a final effort of at least a few hours. The object was not met. I never actually got to 2nd fall. Walking down the creek I came across infestation after infestation. Stuff that I just could not walk past.

Firstly, this sucker…

Privet stump had to go

I had cut down this privet tree quite a while ago as other choices were limited and it was getting too large to ignore. However, as expected, it was doing its best to make a comeback. I couldn’t ignore it so I got in and finally dug it out. It was harder than usual due to the fact it had wedged itself between some bolders and rocks. Still, out it came so yay for that.

With my focus brought to privet, I decided I need to scope the size of the job to tack the privet between 1st and 2nd falls. I started walking along the East bank of the creek to look for any smaller privet I could pull out directly and determine how many larger privet trees needed to be dealt with. Privet is probably now the worst invasive tree in the creek as the other offenders have been beaten down. The most notable plant on the East bank though is Fishbone fern. Fishbone Fern is native to Australia but not to this region. It is clearly identified here as a weed by how strongly it dominates the area.

It is so numerous and prolific it has always been put off for another day. However, I stumbled onto a small outbreak of Bracken fern. I was most impressed that this Bracken Fern had somehow been able to take on the Fishbone fern. The Bracken Fern was still struggling though as it could barely be seen amongst the Fishbone so I got in and gave the Bracken Fern a bit of space and hopefully a bit more light.

Hopefully this will give it a chance to start spreading and push back the Fishbone fern somewhat.

As well as coming across a few new outbreaks of Bracken Fern, I was quite happy to see some Rasp Fern taking root further along the creek. Unfortuately it too was battling various weeds. I chopped down some privet as a temporary measure but it was need to be addressed.  Small Rasp fern can be seen in the images below. It appears to have only come through after a weed was pushed back some by the landcare green team. I am uncertain about the name of that weed but I remember it was identified as originating from the african continent.

I was also a bit disturbed to find some fully grown privet trees which dominated certain sections of the upper canopy. A ‘privet attack’ is very much so needed. It will need to be a more permanant solution as well. That’ll either be pulling them out of the ground or using herbicide of some sort.

I didn’t get to my objective but it was a productive bush bash with some positive results coming through.

Potential candidates for front of Dick’s Creek site

After removing the outgrowth of cassia/senna from the bank of Dick’s Creek it has left an area of grass which needs restoration. It also removed a screening service which was being performed by the Cassia so a replacement species was required that would tick a few boxes

  • It needed to be a smaller tree that would not interfere with nearby powerlines or produce obsticles or debrey for the adjacent road and driveway.
  • It needed to be able to work as a screening bush and preferably had to be quick growing so it could fulfil this role as quickly as possible.
  • It was preferable that it would be a food source for the native birdlife
  • Obviously, a nicer looking plant would be appreciated as well being just off the street

I attended the Lake Macquarie Landcare Resource centre and spoke to an onsite expert who pointed out which suitable plants were available from the LC nursery.

They were:

I believe the best ‘fit’ to the requirements is Acacia longifolia.

Apparently the birds love the flowers, it is quick growing and a great screening tree. Hopefully it is not too late in the season to get them bedded in.

Weekend weed bash – 17.03.2019 – 2 hrs

After getting the majority of Mist flower and Crofton weed out from the bottom of Dick’s creek fall a few weeks ago, the remaining has been niggling me to finish it off.  My kids kept me company while I addressed the section under the overhang.

Daniela took a photo of us tackling the crofton weed and mist flower

It was a short session but I achieved my objective only to notice I didn’t have to go far to find more crofton weed infestations a little further along the creek. Next week…

On the plus side, I had a chance to remove the ‘tree of heaven’ which can be seen in the photo above (behind the large gum on the left hand side). I had wanted to dig it out completely but the angle of the slope and some rocks made sure that was not going to happen. I will need to keep an eye on it to make sure it does not resprout from the remaining root system.

Dick’s Creek Landcare Group is Official – 14.03.2019

Had a call from Dick’s Creek Landcare Support Officer today (Daniela Oldfield) who confirmed that Dick’s Creek Landcare Group has been officially approved and I can now start to build the group.

I am not sure how many local residents will be interested in weeding on their weekend but I intend to find out. I will need to get the information together for the brochure that Landcare uses.

Dick’s Creek Bush Restoration

Dick’s creek landcare group is working to restore the creek and surrounding bush to it’s natural state.

Dick’s creek is located in Lake Macquarie, NSW. It begins before Hallam St, in Charlestown and ends when it joins Johnson creek near Oakdale Rd, near Gateshead. However, Dick’s creek landcare group is current focused on the small reserve off Green Valley Rd.

Within this section of the creek, it runs through two small falls of approximately 4 or 5 metres height and flows through a moist gully with relatively steep embankments.

Lake Macquarie Landcare has assessed the vegetation community within the reserve to be Hunter Valley Moist Valley. That vegetation profile description can be found here.

Weed plant list

Weed plant list from first landcare site assessment:

Weed Plant List
Agapanthus sp. – Agapanthus
Protasparagus aethiopica – Asparagus Fern
Stenotaphrum secundatum – Buffalo Grass
Cinnamomum camphora – Camphor Laurel
Bidens pilosa – Cobblers Peg
Syagrus romanzoffianum – Cocos Palm
Ageratina adenophora – Crofton Weed
Hedera helix – English Ivy
Nephrolepis cordifolia – Fishbone Fern
Lantana camara – Lantana
Araujia hortorum – Moth Vine
Monstera deliciosa – Monstera
Sida rhombifolia – Paddy’s Lucerne
Paspalum dilatatum – Paspalum
Setaria palmifolia – Palm Grass
Passiflora sp. – Passionfruit
Ligustrum lucidium – Privet (Broad Leaf)
Ligustrum sinense – Privet (Small Leaf)
Senna pendula var. glabrata – Senna (Cassia)
Tradscantia albiflora – Trad (Wandering Jew)
Solanum mauritianum – Wild Tobacco
Salix sp. – Willow
Watsonia – Bungle lily
Ochna serrulata – Mickey Mouse Plant
Plantago lanceolatata – Lambs tongue
Hedychium gardnerianum – Ginger Lily

Asphodelus fistulosus – Onion weed
Parthenocissus tricuspidata – Boston ivy
Solanum nigrum – Blackberry nightshade
Bromus – Bromus
Ageratina riparia – Mist flower
Grevillea robusta – Silky oak
Toxicodendron succedaneum – Rhus tree

Native Plant List

List from 1st landcare assessment of native plants observed onsite:

Native Plant List
Acmena smithii – Lillypilly
Adiantum aethopicum- Maiden Hair Fern
Adiantum hispidulum – Rough Maiden Hair Fern
Allocasuarina torulosa – Forest Oak
Angophora costata – Smooth Barked Apple
Brachychiton acerifolius – Flame tree
Calochlena dubia – Soft Bracken
Cayratia clematidea – Slender Grape
Clerodendrum tomentosum – Hairy Clerodendrum
Cyclosorus interruptus – Fern
Commelina cynanea – Scurvy Weed
Corymbia maculata – Spotted Gum
Cyathea sp.- Tree Fern
Dianella caerulea – Blue Flax Lily
Entolasia stricta – Right Angle Grass
Eucalyptus acmenoides – White Mahogany
Eucalyptus fibrosa – Broad – leaved Ironbark
Eucalyptus saligna – Sydney blue gum
Eucalyptus paniculata – Grey Ironbark
Eucalyptus piperita – Sydney Peppermint
Eucalyptus punctate – Grey Gum
Ficus coronate – Sandpaper Fig
Geranium homeanum – Northern cranesbill
Glochidion ferdinandi – Cheese Tree
Homolanthus nutans – Bleeding Heart

Livistona australis – Cabbage – tree Palm
Lomandra longifolia – Spiny-Headed Mat-Rush
Melaleuca stypheloides – Prickly leaf Paperbark
Microlaena stipoides – Weeping grass
Oplismenus imbecillis – Basket Grass
Pittosporum undulatum – Sweet Pittosporum
Pteridium esculentum – Common bracken
Smilax glyciphylla – Native sarsparilla
Stephania japonica – Snake Vine
Syncarpia glomulifera – Turpentine