2012 Sycamore Maple Planting Project Site Update

Biggest Seedling
We have a winner this is the biggest planted tree I found on the site.

Recently trekked in to monitor progress I had been putting it off until the heat wave had passed. It was four and half months since I had last seen the site so I was anxious to see how things were progressing. First impressions where that there has been a lot of regrowth of under-storey the Snowy daisy-bush (Olearia lirata) had really taken off, and it was even harder to move around the site and to spot the Mountain Ash we had planted. With careful searching the good news was that the planted trees were still there and looking healthy and mostly untouched by Wallabies although I was expecting a bit more growth over summer.

Lots of re-sprouting on this Maple stump
Sycamore Maple stump with lots of re-sprouting that will need to be treated.

The other concern I had was how much regeneration there had been of the Sycamore Maple trees that had dominated this site until they were cut down cleared several years ago. When I had visited in October there were hundreds of new seedlings that had popped up since our planting day in August. I was happy to see that in the more open areas there were few if any Maples (I think the hot summer may have killed them off) it was noticeable however that some of the large stumps had varying amounts of re-shooting from the base that needs to be dealt with.

My optimism about the Sycamore Maple situation was short lived. Although there was little regeneration in the more open areas, the hundreds of fallen logs scattered around the area have been both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side they have of course helped to act as barriers to animals that want to eat our newly planted seedlings (e.g. Wallabies) and as I also discovered the shade they provide has also created a great niche for a mass regeneration of shade loving ferns.

Fern Growth Under Logs
The fallen logs on the site have provided shady spots ideal for the germination of fern spores.

Along with the ferns however the shady spots also seem to support enclaves of new sycamore maple seedlings and re-sprouts. There tendency to hide in these hard to reach spots means (i think) there will need to be a large on-going effort to eradicate them from the site.

In summary despite the on-going threat of the Sycamore Maple, progress at the site is going really well. The Over-storey plantings have have survived and are looking healthy and the natural regeneration of native species is looking fantastic. Apart from the ferns and daisy-bushes that I have already mentioned there seems to be a great diversity of other indigenous  species such as Tree Lomatia, Prickly Currant Bush, Musk daisy-bush and Mountain Correa. The real on-going challenge will be to eradicate any of those Sycamore Maples before they reach maturity and produce a new generation of seeds.

Written by Tarra Bulga

Member of Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park.

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