When cyclists from the Great Victorian Bike Ride “ascend” on Tarra Bulga next week they will notice along with the many native plants in flower some attractive looking flowering plants that are in fact not so desirable. One of the most obvious they will see is Creeping Buttercup – (Ranunculus repens). Although there are native Buttercup species this one comes from the Northern hemisphere. As can be seen by the sea of yellow along the roadsides at this time of the year, it has been well established for a long time and has also penetrate to some moist areas deeper in the park resulting in the displacement of native species.
Another weed that is threatening to take over and become more of a pest is Myosotis sylvatica or Wood forget-me-not. There are also native relatives of this plant in existence, but this species is native to Europe and has been introduced to Tarra Bulga from garden escapes. It is popping up all over the roadsides and is threatening to penetrate deeper into the park. Park staff and volunteers are vigilant in trying to remove seedlings whenever they are encountered but the task seems to be getting more difficult.
The friends of Tarra Bulga are happy to announce that they have been successful in obtaining a grant from the Victorian Government’s Communities for Nature Grants for a major restoration project in the park. The project site is one that is tucked away in a remote section of the park and was only discovered by chance when some contractors were doing some minor control of what was thought to be only a minor incursion of Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) on the edge of Diaper Track.
Once they began it became clear that the task was much bigger than first thought and in the end it was found that this plant was dominating the canopy in a large thicket about 2ha in area. Much expense was spent destroying these invasive trees but the site has now been left with no overstorey species and the potential for the weedy Maple to return.
Thankfully securing this grant will enable the friends group in partnership with Parks Victoria to work to restore this area, by establishing a wet forest overstorey with species including Eucalyptus regnans (Mountain Ash) and also allowing the understorey to recover while destroying re-germinating weed species.
The friends group are planning a tree planting working bee on Saturday August the 11th. For further details or to register your interest in attending please contact David Akers at email@example.com
On Saturday March the 31st the friends held their annual Sycamore Maple pull. It was very encouraging to see that although there were still quite a number of large seedlings (up to 2.5m tall) and a bit of re-sprouting from previous weeding efforts. There was only a handful of new seedling sprouting (despite the wet seasons we have had) compared to the hundreds that we were pulling out when we first started working on this site back in 2006.
The source of the infestation was from some large established trees planted on the other side of the Tarra Valley Road. The large trees for many years had blown their light papery seeds into the surrounding native forest. Thanks to our efforts in starting the work in the park and with co-operation with the WGCMA and Parks Victoria, work was done to remove these large established trees, The photo above shows a large tree maple that was ringbarked and poisoned. Now all that should be required to stop the maple from spreading into the the magnificent forests of Tarra Bulga is a quick bit of regular follow up to eliminate any seedlings that pop up from viable seed still stored in the soil or regrowth of plants that we have already pulled out.
Sycamore Maple Removal
Fortunately we did not find to many plants that had re-grown but it was apparent that the ones that did resprout were generally not cut off very close to the ground. So the lesson learnt “cutting the stems as close to the ground as possible is vital”.
While we have had some great success with the maples here we have some more significant tasks ahead. This includes efforts to re-habilitate the site (only recently discovered) of a huge infestation of around 2ha of established maples in the park. In this area of the park there are also large infestations of Tutsan and Blackberries that are of great concern.