Landcare is a non-governmental community movement dedicated to preventing land degradation and achieving sustainable land management. It consists of a network of local volunteer groups of which there are over 1700 in New South Wales alone. Each group works to find local solutions to local problems such as salinity, soil degradation, animal pests, weeds, vegetation loss, waterside erosion, poor water quality, coastal degradation and urban land degradation. If you appreciate how lucky we are in the Helensburgh district to enjoy a relatively unspoiled bush environment you should also be aware that it is under serious threat. read more

Sunday 8 July 2018

Be Weed Wise - English Ivy

Ivy, English ivy (Hedera helix)

A native of northern Africa, Europe and western Asia, English ivy, a widely cultivated garden plant, is widely naturalised in Australia.  Ivy is a climber or creeper which forms aerial roots which attach to supporting structures. It spreads rapidly, blanketing the ground in a thick mat of vegetation. This excludes light, eventually choking out other species and preventing their germination. Ivy also grows thickly up over tall tress and shrubs, smothering them and even causing them to fall over under its weight.

Ivy has 3 lobed leaves, which are thin-textured and only slightly glossy, often with a slight whitish marbling. Leaves on flowering stems are larger, and are not lobed. It has inconspicuous greenish flowers in clusters, followed by black berries.

If you have ivy growing in your garden, please don’t let it grow up trees or fences, or anywhere high. Once it is up there, it flowers and the seeds are spread by birds into surrounding bushland (or even into your neighbours’ properties). The other way ivy spreads into bushland is through dumping of garden waste.

Removal: Hand-pull small plants and remove. Plants left lying on the ground will re-grow. For badly infested trees, cut away at least the bottom metre of ivy stems around the trunk and apply herbicide to both ends of the cut stems. Do not try to pull ivy down. Treat it and leave it to die in place.

Grow Me Instead

Wonga vine, Pandorea pandorana
This local native vine will cover a fence or trellis. It has cream flowers with brown or purple streaks, although yellow and white flowered cultivars are available.

Chinese star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides
This evergreen vine from China has dark, glossy foliage and small, starry, white, spicy, nutmeg-scented flowers in summer. It is slow growing initially but later becomes vigorous. Variegated leaf forms are also available.

Rasp fern, Doodia aspera
It makes a good groundcover for a shady site, but will also tolerate full
sun and is one of the most drought-tolerant local native ferns.

Be Weed Wise - Japanese Sacred Bamboo

Japanese sacred bamboo (Nandina domestica)

Native to eastern Asia, Japanese sacred bamboo is considered an environmental weed in NSW. This species is currently of most concern in the wider Sydney and Blue Mountains region in central New South Wales. It is currently not very widespread or common, but its abundance and range is increasing. It is also an invasive weed in large parts of south-eastern USA where it is displacing native vegetation.

Sacred Bamboo is generally grown for its foliage which has colourful red and green leaves. Small, white flowers are followed by red berries in autumn. It was a popular planting around a certain takeaway at one time. Birds spread the berries into bushland, and that is when it becomes a problem. Many reports also suggest that the berries are toxic to a range of animals, including dogs, cats and cattle. It has been known to kill birds when they gorge on the berries.

Control: remove and bag the berries and place them in your red bin. The whole plant can then be dug out and placed in the green bin.

Grow Me Instead

Honey myrtle Melaleuca linariifolia ‘Little Red’ A dense compact shrub with small leaves and bright red new growth throughout the warmer months.

Dwarf willow peppermint Agonis flexuosa ‘Nana' is a highly attractive, compact, evergreen shrub that produces willow-like foliage with red new growth and small white flowers in Spring.

Be Weed Wise - Ginger Lily

Ginger lily (Hedychium gardnerianum)

Ginger lily is native to the Himalayas. It is now naturalised in bushland areas on the east coast. Ginger lily is also very poisonous to grazing animals, and can be fatal if enough of the plant is ingested.

Ginger lily grows to 2m tall, with long strap like leaves and large spikes of perfumed flowers. This plant forms clumps with deep matted roots. It is found in moist places. Flowers are bright yellow, fragrant and appear in summer to autumn. It grows most abundantly in open, light-filled habitats, but can grow into deep shade. It forms vast, dense, colonies that smother and displace native groundcover vegetation.

Dispersal: Clumps spread rapidly from underground rhizomes. The seeds are readily dispersed by birds and other animals that are attracted to their bright colours.

Removal: Plants can be dug up or pulled out depending on size, but the entire plant, including pieces of rhizome, needs to be removed to avoid regrowth. Seeds and rhizomes should be placed in the red bin. (Update, now that Wollongong Council has FOGO, seeds and rhizomes can be placed in the green FOGO bin.) Leaves and stems can be put in the green bin.

Grow Me Instead

Gymea lily - Doryanthes excelsa. This local native plant thrives in poor sandy soils and full sun or partial shade. The red trumpet-like flowers are borne in a terminal head 300 mm in diameter on a leafy flowering stem 2–4 m high.

Swamp lily - Crinum pedunculatum. This Australian native plant has rosettes of broad leaves and clusters of white, highly fragrant, flowers on 1m stems. Suits any soil, full sun or dappled shade and is mildly frost tolerant, it also grows well near ponds.