Working Bee – 23.01.2022

Was able to get another 3 or so hours in this afternoon. I took the weedpuller down with me to help with some privet but in the end, I didn’t get to the section I intended to work on (nothing new there…).

Palm grass has been getting ignored for the last six months or so and it was showing. Multiple spots where it was getting far too healthy. So I tried the weedpuller out on the palm grass and surprisingly, it made easy work of it. I expect it depends on how soft the ground is but as it was, it made easy work of most of it (easier than a mattock at least). I dared not clear all of it in case it was holding the bank together but I did enough to keep the shade off the nearby cheese tree sapling.

I was disturbed to find the tree fern near first fall was in dire straights. I hope it makes it. It seems that removing the camphor laurel has just allowed too much light to reach it. Fingers crossed that it adjusts to having more light for a while.

Once again, I decided to help out the Gahnia by picking on the fishbone fern. Not removing all of the fishbone fern but rather, just thinning it out and breaking off any large fronds. It is a slow process but it seems to be working. I hope the area along the creek between first and second falls will end up being mostly Gahnia.

 

Another inspection at the top of 2nd falls shows the Swedish Ivy really taking off.

 

On the positive side, the area has a variety of desired species doing well


Including a first for Dick’s Creek, a Blueberry Ash.

I do need to address the Swedish Ivy issue but today I only got to the a couple of privet trees and some camphor laurels. A productive day though.

Working Bee – 09.01.2022

Had a chance to get some more done at Dick’s creek for the first time in the new year.

As always, I deviated away from my original target after noting some weeds on the way. On the lower west bank of first fall I noticed a healthy stand of Croften weed & mistflower.

Not surprising of course considering that these invasives dominated the spot a few years ago. It didn’t take long to do some maintenance to get rid of most of it. This area is doing well mostly. Native ferns and trees are growing stronger and the weeds are having a harder and harder time.

I videoed progress while I was there…

I took some video at ‘Site A’ and also after manually removing some lantana behind 16 Green Valley Rd.  I took some more photos and video of an issue I have with lantana rafts taking too much space. I am convinced that most bush regeneration advice is aimed at large sites where rafts can be built and forgotten. However, as there so much lantana at Dick’s creek and the site is relatively small, I find those piles of dead lantana take up too much space so I have tried a few options to speed up the breakdown. Firstly, I was spreading out the dead branches rather than piling them. Normally this is not done as it is possible the branches will reroot but I take this into consideration and find that spreading out the branches is an improvement.

Another approach I have now had success with, is to pile green leafy weeds in with the raft when it is made. It keeps the moisture in contact with the dead branches and hence hastens the process. Key with both approaches is to reduce the size of the branches as much as possible.

Finally, I got to the back of the reserve, near the creek, where I intended to spend most of the time on. Privet is the main issue at this location. I found multiple native saplings taking off at this location so I ended up just trying to keep the privet away from these guys.

In this shot, the pittosporum can be seen. A lot of the surrounding privet has been pulled out and will soon die.


Here we can see a small Cheese tree and another small tree of that as of yet unidentified tree that appears to like the area.

Hopefully I can do more for these in future working bees as they are struggling against the privet.

Working Bee – 12.09.2021

A quick session today. Actually classified as exercise rather than bush regeneration 🙂

Once again, just pushing back on lantana. I came across a large sandpaper fig tree that I had previously freed up from lantana. It had since then, fallen over but it continues to thrive. It had once again started to provide structure for the surrounding lantana. I removed the offending lantana and also bits of privet.

Sandpaper fig after I had cleared off the lantana.

I will need to come back to this spot as there is various promising saplings which need defending.

Here is a summary video I did of the site after clearing the fig.

Working Bee – 27.02.2021

Dick’s Creek had a visit from the green team from the lake macquarie landcare resource center during the week. Many hands make light work and that was definitely the case on the day. Some good progress was made on the day despite delays due to rain. While there on the day I noticed some sections done previously had sprung back. Namely lantana and privet as usual. I have been quite  taken back by the speed that everything is growing at present. Rain is great for all the plants, weeds included unfortunately.

Yesterday, I had a chance to get some guards around the Cheese saplings I planted a month or so ago.

Everything is looking super green at present. Maiden hair along the cliff face next to the first falls has never been so abundant.

Palm grass is looking a bit too healthy at various places along the creek. At placed, I need to consider erosion control. When the water flows fast, it takes anything that is loose down stream so sometimes it is just better to leave some weeds in place for this reason. Here is what I am describing…

Further along, I am pushing back the swedish Ivy as various ferns show up. Hopefully it is a case of slowly does it. Things are looking much better but it can all go backwards quickly if I don’t keep an eye on it.

A trail that I often used that leads from the second falls around to site A was enveloped by fishbone fern. Impressive. Annoying but still impressive. I cleared the trail. This video shows the area and also one of the areas done by the green team.

Also done by the the green team and I last Tuesday…

Continuing on from that section I cleared lantana and privet back down the creeks edge (which still needs some serious privet treatment).

Here is the summary of the day which I try to do for each working bee. It was a good day…

 

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.