Blackberry eradication

Flutter by Butter Fly

Swordgrass Brown butterfly

The butterfly pictured above was photographed at Kinglake last week and is the Swordgrass Brown Butterfly (Tisiphone abeona albifascia). Keep your eyes open for the many species active now the warmer months are here.

The Great Victorian Koala Count took place in early November. One Koala was reported by a member of our group and was added to the survey. This was Ted, (refer;  If you go down in the woods today ) who shows up every few months for a snooze in one of his favourite trees and then wanders off again. Ted hadn’t been seen since March and we feared he may have become road kill or died of old age- great to see him again. More Koala stories can be found in March is Koala month or Snippets or visit Great Victorian Koala Count

Flowerdale Landcare Newsletter, November 2015

Engaging with Our Community, Our Environment

Next event;

Sunday December 13th; Coonan’s Reserve, Flowerdale

Breakfast, Bird and Brook, End of year Celebration.

8:30 a.m.

Hi everyone,

There hasn’t been a newsletter issued for some 6 months, so bringing you up to date is well overdue. In case you missed our Annual General Meeting,-  the committee is now;

President – Derek Hall

Treasurer – Claude Baxter

Assistant Treasurer – Rick Wheeler

Vice President – Paul Michael

Secretary – Pam Watson

Ordinary Committee – Steve Brennan, Steve Joblin, Carol Stadelmann, Wayne Watson

We have since engaged in National Tree Day and Schools National Tree Day plantings as well as a successful Broom Busting day at Moore’s Reserve. These activities as always were followed up by a BBQ lunch and beverage. Since then a volunteer blackberry spraying day was again undertaken by the group. Thanks to Paul Michael, Derek Hall and Steve Joblin who put in around 20 hours on this project.

Flowerdale Landcare has now turned 3 years old and held the 2nd Great Flowerdale Duck Race last weekend. Last year we had a turnout of 23 people and a real fun day on both the Silver and King Parrot Creeks. This year the Landcare Group decided to have a Picnic on the Lawn at Flowerdale Community House in the hope of attracting locals as part of a Fire Awareness initiative.

Long time resident and CFA Fire education officer Judy Baker presented information on developing a family fire plan and staying safe through the fire danger period.

Our lunch was provided through grant support from Kinglake Ranges Foundation, which meant that any donations received on the day could be presented to the Flowerdale CFA. Thanks to Viv Phelan for the tasty sandwiches and cakes prepared for us. Flowerdale Landcare president Derek Hall was proud to present Judy Baker with a cheque for $115 which will assist our CFA community volunteers who put in many hours of training on our behalf. (By the way, Madam Secretary Pam Watson’s duck was first under the Bridge which gave her the prize of a meal voucher at the Flowerdale Hotel!). Thanks to our supporters and members Steve and Viv Phelan proprietors of Flowerdale Hotel , for their support.

Flowerdale Landcare years end will be officially celebrated again at the Coonan’s Reserve with a breakfast at 8.30 a.m. on Sunday December 13th. Come along and celebrate the achievements of the year, you might even be lucky enough to see a platypus or rakali as we did at lunchtime last year. This gathering will also be the opportunity to confirm events planned for the next 12 months.

In 2016 we will have access to 5,000 plants supplied by Fifteen trees  and we are grateful to our corporate sponsors for their continued support. In 2015, Flowerdale Landcare assisted in the planting of 4,250 seedlings which I believe was the greatest effort by any of the 16 groups in the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network. This effort was supported by Fifteen Trees and Pana Chocolate

Flowerdale Landcare Blackberry Busting program ends for 2014

 

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.

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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.

Invasion Alert!

Flowerdale is under attack! A number of pests and unwanted guests are upsetting the natural balance in our region and damaging the environment we interact with. Now is the time to take up arms against a sea of troubles. Take a stand and join your neighbours in pushing back the invasion. There are a few simple steps to start you off;

  1. Identify and gauge the extent of the problem
  2. Talk to you neighbours and make a combined effort for the greatest long term effect
  3. Seek advice on the best method and resources available to tackle the problem
  4. Record with your local Flowerdale Landcare your theatre of operation, objectives, tactics and successes.
  5. Evaluate and persist; the first attack is seldom decisive.

Flowerdale Landcare has already identified Cape Broom and Blackberry as pests that deserve particular attention over the long term along the King Parrot Creek in the Flowerdale region, but there are others-

Rabbits! Bunnies! Underground Mutton!

These celebrated Easter heroes are so ever – present, we seldom take much notice of them. When was the last time you assessed this problem. Recently, a total of 17 bunnies were observed stretched out baking in the sun on the roadside in front of our cottage. I decided it was time to bake these bunnies as a source of clean, lean protein. Just like an iceberg, what you see is only the tip. Over 4 sessions totalling 4 hours, 40 rabbits were harvested over a 1ha area. That is around 80 meals stored in the freezer, or shared and eaten fresh over the last week. Great bush tucker.IMG_5992

Reduction of rabbits of course means another animal in competition for food may take more of our small native animals. Fox control goes hand in hand with rabbit control. To this end the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network is running a free fox control workshop on the 22nd of November at the Kinglake Scout Hall. To attend this, please call Landcare Co-ordinator Chris Cobern on 0413 855 490.

Another browsing animal that have rapidly built up in numbers are the deer, both Sambar and Fallow. These species have been able to take advantage of the dense bushland vegetation that is a result of the 2009 fires. They are becoming increasingly evident, being observed in daylight as well as at night. The damage these animals are doing to saplings and seedlings is also quite evident. Establishing new plantations of native seedlings faces further challenge if deer are present. Deer are another fantastic resource of lean protein.DSC_0139

Control and harvesting of animals must be humane. and in accordance with regulations.

Blackberry Busting in Flowerdale is progressing well. Join with your neighbours in targeting this weed species which is taking over good grazing land, providing harbour for vermin an choking access to our Creek and bushland. In the last fortnight, 5 neighbouring properties made use of the 600 litre spray unit belonging to Flowerdale Landcare to tackle blackberry infestations. An area of just over 124 ha was dealt with. This too is only the tip of the iceberg and we encourage more Flowerdale residents to make use of the unit over the next 4 months. The best time to make a difference is now. Blackberry is just beginning to flower. Spraying now will prevent the canes from setting seed. Call 0412 334 521 for assistance.DSC_0142

Blackberry Busters !

 

Geordie, Steve, Bec, Kara, Brandy, Rick and Ninja

Geordie, Steve, Bec, Kara, Brandy, Rick and Ninja

 

 

King Parrot Creek Environment Group are now the custodians of a 600 litre spray unit. Originally purchased by the Flowerdale Environmental Work Engine with funds provided by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, this equipment was for some time unavailable for use. It took a lot of effort by members of the group and the Flowerdale Community to have this unit placed with a community group based in Flowerdale.

KPCEG made use of the unit for the first time today. Members Steve, Rick, and Rebecca, made short work  of a major blackberry infestation. Today’s effort covered a 25ha property  for a cost to the owner of around $60 (chemicals and petrol). KPCEG members volunteered their labour (a total of 12 hours).Rebecca is also Project Officer of the King Parrot Creek Blackberry Action Group. This is a 3 year project along the creek to encourage landholders to work together as good neighbours to control what has become a huge problem since the fires of 2009. The C.o.M. of our Group committed to assist genuine locals who lack the means or ability to tackle this problem on their own.

With autumn leaf fall fast approaching, there is little scope left for effective blackberry spraying, but we expect the spray unit to be in demand from November onwards.