Volunteers from Flowerdale Landcare put in a total of 19 hours on Sunday the 14th of December. This effort assisted members of Flowerdale community in the residential hub who lacked the means or ability to manage blackberry on their properties. Twelve properties were listed for assistance with the energetic co-ordination of Bronwyn Graham, secretary of Flowerdale Community House.
Most of the work was completed using our 600 litre spray unit.
One of the difficulties with managing blackberries in an urban setting are that the seeds are often dropped by birds perching on fence lines and in garden shrubs. This can make spraying inappropriate. On some properties the cut and paint technique was used to protect valued plants. The cut and paint technique involves cutting canes close to the ground and applying undiluted glyphosate to the stump. The poison is then drawn through the root system of the blackberry, killing the plant. This system is a targeted approach with minimal chemical use. It is also time consuming and you need to check for snakes before crawling under bushes at this time of year!
Much of the blackberry problem for the people of the residential hub comes from the heavy infestation along the banks of the nearby King Parrot Creek. At this time of the year the Macquarie Perch are breeding in the Creek and spraying is not appropriate with the risk of overspray contaminating the water. More voluntary work will occur along the banks in 2015.
This year, Flowerdale Landcare has assisted in treating blackberry infestation on approximately 180 ha in the Flowerdale region. This is a drop in the ocean really, but the aim is to lead the community and encourage others to take part. From the response we received on Sunday, we are certain more people will be involved next season.