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Xanthorrhoea in Spring Flower After Fires


Over the weekend, local residents visited these beautiful Xanthorrhoea or Grass Trees which are in flower now in the forest in Wandella, burnt in last summer's fires.

Xanthorrhoea are often very long-lived; some are estimated to be 350-450 years old. Studies of species that develop tall trunks indicate that increase in trunk height is mostly slow, about 0.8-6 cm per year. They flower in spirally arranged clusters.

Bush Heritage Australia explains that “many species have an amazing ability to survive fire. A fire may burn their leaves and blacken their trunks, but the trees usually survive: the living growth-point is buried underground, protected by tightly packed leaf bases. In fact, some grass trees are stimulated by fire – in the spring after a summer bushfire, large numbers of plants can flower.”


You can read more about Xanthorrhoea in this Bush Heritage Australia story.

Thank you to Thea Constantaridis for sharing these beautiful photos.
 


Steps for a Successful Planting Project

Recent winter rains have provided good soil moisture levels and full dams, ideal for planting this spring. If you’re feeling inspired to undertake a larger scale planting project on your property, planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of time to prepare your site will make your job easier and increase the health, survival and growth rates of your plants. Choosing the right site, good site preparation, species selection, timing of planting for soil moisture and maintenance are the keys to a successful larger scale planting project (around 200 plants or more). Have a look at this two page guide to planning and implementing your project called Planning to Plant that covers:

1. Planning – Choosing the best site for planting, choosing your plants, timing and soil moisture;
2. Site Preparation – Preparing the soil, weed control, fencing out stock, pest control;
3. Planting; and
4. Maintenance.

Enjoy Planning to Plant, good luck with your project and remember you can always contact the CMN info@fsccmn.com for further advice or to find out who you need to talk to next.

Photo: Bega Valley landholder completing riparian planting project

Council Support for Weed Control After Fires

In an effort to support rural landholders who have been impacted by the fire events over summer, Council has secured grant funds through the NSW DPI South East Regional Weeds Program for weed control vouchers to assist in the control of priority weed species within the Bega Valley Shire. These include African lovegrass, Serrated tussock, St John’s Wort, Blackberry and other weeds. Visit Council’s website for a full list of the Priority Weeds Species for the South East.

Council is able to visit to provide professional advice on best practice weed control techniques, mapping of the property for any weeds that may be present and also may be able to offer on the spot practical controls. The visits will also increase awareness of new weeds that may have entered the Bega Valley with donated feed and fodder after the fires.

A voucher of either $100 or $250 may be available to landholders to assist with weed control resources such as herbicide, tools and Personal Protective Equipment when redeemed at any of the local Agricultural suppliers listed on the vouchers. The level of support provided will be based on the impact of weeds onsite, as well as the size, tenure and current use of the property. Residents affected by the Tathra and Yankee’s Gap fires of 2018 are also eligible for assistance.

To access this support please contact Council’s Biosecurity Officers on 6499 2222 to organise a property visit.

Photo: Jamie Dixon-Keay, Senior Biosecurity Officer, Bega Valley Shire Council

Propagating Plants from Local Seed

The Far South Coast Landcare Community Seedbank provides small quantities of local provenance seed for free to landholders in the Bega Valley Shire. The Seedbank is coordinated by Karen Walker who collects and processes seed from right across the local landscape, mostly in the hottest, driest months of the year, and stores it in a purpose-built cool room in Bega.

Why use local provenance seed? Plants from a particular area have evolved over a long period of time to suit local conditions such as climate (especially rainfall) and the area’s topography and soils. Therefore they have greater survival rates and need less care compared to the same species of plants that have evolved elsewhere.

Local provenance plants often have valuable genetic variations, showing clear physical differences such as flower colour and leaf shape, but they also may have genetic material whose benefits have not yet been quantified or even discovered – for example the ability to cope with drier conditions or more shade.

There is a strong interdependence between all the plants in an ecological community and between plants and the local native animals, insects, and micro-organisms with which they have evolved. Introducing plants/genes that evolved from outside the natural ecosystem risks upsetting this balance.

If you’re planning to revegetate your property and would like to grow your own plants using local provenance seed, contact Karen Walker on 0408 479 269 or email fsclaseedbank@gmail.com

If you’re buying native tube stock, ask whether your local nursery stocks plants grown from local provenance seed.

If you’d like to collect your own local native seed, have a look at Karen’s notes from her Native Seed Collection Workshop.

Drought, Fire, Rain and Weeds

Bare soil is a weed’s best friend. Recent drought and fires have left plenty of bare ground across the Shire and with the help of winter rains we will see all the priority weed species emerge strongly this season as the weather warms up. These will include African lovegrass, Blackberry, Serrated tussock, St Johns Wort and other weeds. We can also expect them to flower and seed quickly as they take advantage of heightened soil moisture levels.

Jamie Dixon-Keay from Council recommends monitoring your known infestations of these weeds and preventing them from flowering as this will help reduce the seed bank in your soil. He also advises checking areas with no previous weed infestations as animals may have carried weed seeds into new areas with bare soil where weeds can quickly dominate native pastures and understorey. A weed removed in time will save you hours in the future and stop your native grassland or forest being degraded.

As you walk around your property, take something to mark where you find weeds (like a bamboo stake with some flagging tape) so you can easily go back and control them when you have the right equipment, or take a weeding tool with you so you can chip them out on the spot. Leave the flag in place so you can check the area regularly for new seedlings.

For more information on weed species to look out for on your property, visit Council’s list of Priority Weeds for the South East. You can click on any weed name from the list to see photos and information to help with identification and for detailed suggestions on control methods.

To talk to someone from Council about weeds on your property and what to do about them, call 6499 2222 or email JDixon-Keay@begavalley.nsw.gov.au.

Deer Monitoring on the Far South Coast

South East Local Land Services has introduced another tool in their efforts to monitor and understand the behaviour of wild deer on the Far South Coast, working with land managers between Kiah and Moruya over the next four years to trap, collar and release fallow and sambar deer and track their movements.

Local Land Services Senior Biosecurity Officer Dan Biddulph said “Wild deer present a real threat to many native plant species and apply unwanted grazing pressure to private agricultural land. To date we’ve been able to work out some of the points where the deer congregate to feed, but what we don’t have is a clear picture of how they move through the landscape, what paths they use and what other potential control sites they visit.”

The collaring initiative is the next step in the Far South Coast Wild Deer Management Plan. Read more here...

After the Fires - A Virtual Field Day in Quaama with Jackie Miles

In case you missed them last month (and for new CMN members) you can still see this series of 3 videos created for you in place of our regular workshops and field days. Join botanist Jackie Miles for a virtual walk along Dry River in Quaama six months after fire swept through the area on New Years Eve 2019. Find out what plants are coming back in the riparian forest and how different plants respond to fire.

  1. Native Tree Response to Fire in Dry River, Quaama (9 mins)

  2. Native Groundcover and Understorey Response to Fire (12 mins)

  3. Weeds’ Response to Fire (9 mins)

Let us know what you think, and send any suggestions for virtual field days you'd like to attend in the future to info@fsccmn.com

Photo: Botanist Jackie Miles at Dry River in Quaama

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FSCCMN · 22 High St · Bega, NSW 2550 · Australia

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