Weeds – Friends of Mount Majura
Nov 142017

Paterson’s Curse, Echium plantagineum. Physical removal is the best method of treatment at the flowering and seed setting stage.

Please help tackle Paterson’s Curse at its last stronghold at The Fair any time that suits you within the next fortnight.

Paterson’s Curse (PC), Echium plantagineum is one of the most prevalent herbaceous weeds in the nature reserve east of The Fair. Volunteers made great progress controlling this pesky weed since they began work to reclaim the grassy woodlands at The Fair in 2012. During the first years volunteers conducted biannual spraying in autumn and spring followed by handweeding of flowering and seed setting plants.

Thanks to the hard work and persistence, PC numbers decreased dramatically (see for instance progress of work on the bottom of this page) and no herbicide spraying was carried out this spring.

Of course there are still PC weeds scattered at the revegetation site which have now passed the peak flowering stage. If you can, please help remove them before the flowers loose their highly visible petals which will be within the next two weeks.

What to do

Pick up a bag at the nature park entry at Ian Nicol / Tay Street intersection (map); walk towards the big conifer northeast of the entry point and pull & bag any purple flower that you come across (some are tiny). The highest density is around the big conifer in an area outlined pink on this map. Deposit the bag at the entry point on your way out or, if it is too heavy, leave it where you finished weeding for someone else to pick up later.

Bring sun protection and gloves; no weeding tool required.

Enquiries: projects@majura.org

Give Curse No Chance!

Oct 272017

Horehound is a common weed often found at old stock camps.


Students of the ANU Intrepid Landcare group will chip in time (despite looming exams!) to help tackle horehound at an old stock camp on Majura Ridge.

If you have time on Sunday morning why not joining them?

When: Sunday, 29 October from 9am to about 1pm

Where: “Sheep camp south” Mt Majura ridge; click on this map to view the location of the sheep camp (red marker) and access routes (green lines). You can meet with the Intrepid crew at 9am at the car park Kellaway St / Philip Av or walk in your own time.

How to get there

(1) From the nature reserve entrance Kellaway Street car park turn left then walk uphill (southeast) on the fire trail named Hancock road; pass the transmission power line easement after about 500m and continue walking uphill close to the saddle; turn left and walk the trail uphill in northeast direction to access the stock camp. The walk will take about 30 minutes from the Kellaway Street nature park entrance.

(2) From the nature park entrance Mackenzie Street (roughly opposite Grayson Street) walk in east direction along the maintenance road (Blue Metal Road); at the saddle turn right and pass the upper Hackett water reservoir and walk uphill  in southwest direction to access the stock camp.

Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, drinking water, and gloves if you have them.

Enjoy: A beautiful spring day and fantastic views over Canberra and Majura Valley.

Inquiries: projects@majura.org

Horehound, is a common perennial weed often found at old stock camps that have nutrient enriched soils.

May 292017

Speckled Warbler, Chthonicola sagittata spotted in the nature reserve by Dusty (CNM)

Give a hand on Sunday, 18 June and help transform Mount Majura’s weedy woodland east of The Fair into native wildlife habitat; enjoy the little woodland birds foraging among planted trees and shrubs and learn about the work of volunteers to reclaim grassy woodland in the area.

When: Sunday, 18 June, 1pm – 4pm; give as much of your time as you want; please come early for an introduction if you can.
Nature park entrance Tay / Ian Nicol Streets, The Fair, North Watson; view this map
Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes and appropriate clothes; tools and afternoon tea will be provided.
Inquiries: projects@majura.org
Download this poster to promote the working party

Flowering Kangaroo grass, Themeda australis (W.Pix). The iconic species once common of grassy ecosystems has been almost lost in the Mt Majura nature reserve.

Help with these tasks
Spreading wood chip mulch.
Mulch reduces erosion and works as a soil conditioner that helps native plants to establish.

Direct seeding Kangaroo grass and installing protective wire mesh guards. Much of the native ground layer has been lost and replaced by herbaceous weeds as a result of overgrazing and other degrading activities. The reintroduction of native grass and local wildflowers complements weed control, increases plant diversity, reduces erosion and provides habitat for local invertebrates, lizards and birds.

About The Fair Project
Since the start of The Fair project in 2012 volunteers replaced hundreds of woody weeds with local shrubs and trees to provide food, nesting and protective habitat for declining woodland birds that visit and live in the nature reserve east of The Fair. We hope our work ensures vulnerable species such as Scarlet Robins and Speckled Warblers will be visiting the area for many years to come.

Starting in the south and working towards the north volunteers spent 1000s of hours to improve the ground cover layer by controlling herbaceous weeds *, manually loosening compacted soil, spreading wood chip mulch and woody debris – making best use of removed woody weeds, collecting seeds, direct seeding various local grasses and planting wildflowers.

*The most common herbaceous weeds are Paterson’s Curse,  St John’s Wort, Saffron thistle, Scotch thistle, Slender thistle, Spear thistle, Variegated thistle, Hirschfeldia, Horehound, Serrated Tussock.

Work in Progress
The photographs below show northwest and northeast views of an area in the reserve east of The Fair taken over 4 years from May 2014 to April 2017. The most noticeable weed, Paterson’s Curse formed dense carpets in autumn 2014. Many volunteer’s hours later in autumn 2017, this weed occurs in a few scattered stands hardly visible among the native grass that had been direct seeded in a cover of wood chip mulch.

The 2 sets of 4 photographs shown below were taken on 13 May 2014, 2 June 2015, 31 May 2016, and 11 April 2017. The first set shows a northwest view downhill towards gully in the north from close to the big conifer (visible on the left hand side) and the second set shows a northeast view from close to the conifer (the water container visible in the photograph sets is the same)

Northwest view

May 2014

June 2015

May 2016





April 2017

Northeast view

May 2014









June 2015









May 2016









April 2017



May 212017

Grace, Lani and Sam having fun (W.Pix)

On a perfect Canberra late autumn day ten volunteers helped removing four cubic meter of Japanese Honeysuckle from the lower part of the drainage gully close to the lower Hackett reservoir.

A big Thank You to Grace, Lani, Sam, Felicity, Chris, Tanja, Margy, Max and Jochen for this wonderful and very satisfying massacre. It was particularly encouraging to have so many engaged young people and Margy’s delicious cake was a truly earned treat for everyone.

Participants were startled by a fox hiding in the thickets.

Can you spot the little frog? (M. Pouwer)

All weeds were pulled rather than cut and sprayed with herbicide. The drain line is known habitat for long neck turtles and frogs and alas participants of the work party were delighted to spot a little frog of which Max took this photo.

21 May 2017

Honeysuckle clocks up the bottom part of the drain line (W.Pix)


Piles of pulled Honeysuckle ready to be picked up and disposed off at Canberra Sand and Gravel Green Waste (W.Pix)

May 022017

Removing woody weeds from the drainage in 2004 (Photo J. Zeil)

Join FoMM’s weeds working party on Sunday, 21 May and help remove Japanese Honeysuckle and other woody weeds growing in and around the drainage close to the Hackett reservoir.

Come early for an introduction and give as much time as you want.

When: Sunday 21 May 2017, 1pm to 4pm

Where: Meet at ParkCare notice board opposite of the water reservoir off Rivett Street and French Street intersection, view this map.

Bring and wear: Sun protection, body covering garden clothing and sturdy shoes; if you have them bring your gum boots.

You need no experience to attend this event; instructions and tools will be provided on site.

Inquiries: ph 6247 7515 or secretary@majura.org

The drainage in November 2004, overgrown with Ivy, Honeysuckle, Privet and other woody weeds…(Photo W. Pix)


Drainage line 14.11.2013 DSCN0199

…and many volunteer hours later in November 2013 (Photo W. Pix). The continuous supply of seeds from nearby gardens requires annual removal of woody weeds.


Mar 202017

Honeysuckle invades bush and smothers native plants (Photo W. Pix)

The Friends of Mount Majura will be hosting a working party on Sunday, 30 April to remove Japanese Honeysuckle from a gully in the nature reserve behind Mackenzie Street, Hackett. This work party follows up work to remove the bulk of Honeysuckle from the gully in Spring 2015. Follow-up work is crucial to remove all stems that potentially develop new plants. Make a difference: give an hour or more of your time and help remove this invasive plant.

When: Sunday 30 April, 9 am to 12 noon
Where: Meet at the nature park access close to Mackenzie Street intersection with Russell Street and Hull Place (south of 85 Mackenzie St); view this map with meeting point and work site.
Bring and wear: Sun protection, body covering garden clothing and sturdy shoes.
Inquiries: secretary@majura.org
Contact during event: 0435 357 172
Promotion of event: download this Poster

Removing Honeysuckle in 2015…

Honeysuckle goes bush
Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica has been used in older gardens as a plant of choice to cover unsightly structures, tree trunks and fences. The semi-deciduous plant grows easily, quickly and vigorously from stem layering and provides a dense screen for most of the year. And this is the rub. It was a not uncommon practice to dump pruned stems over the backyard fence where they started a new life smothering native plants and destroying habitat for native wildlife. 

Japanese Honeysuckle is a declared Pest Plant in the ACT and regarded as an environmental weed in all Australian states and territories except in the Northern Territory. It also appears in the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD).

The perennial vine climbs by twisting stems around vertical structures, including the limbs and trunks of shrubs and small trees. This robust and vigorous ornamental plant has been frequently cultivated in Canberra’s gardens to cover up unsightly structures and fences. It escaped gardens and became a serious weed of moister sites such as gullies and drainage lines where it smothers and out-competes native vegetation, stunts the growth of shrubs and trees and prevents regeneration of native species.

… and the result of the 2015 working party.

Birds eat the shiny black fruits and disperse Honeysuckle over large distances.

Japanese Honeysuckle spreads by seed and vegetatively. It produces several meters long runners that develop roots where the stem and leaf junctions (nodes) come in contact with the soil. Underground stems (rhizomes) help to establish and spread the plant locally. Long distance dispersal is by birds which readily eat the black shiny fruits and defecate the seeds at various distances from the parent plant. Japanese Honeysuckle was often dumped in Mt Majura’s bushland behind Hackett gardens.

Flowering Honeysuckle (Photo Brisbane City Council Weed Identification)

Method of control. Cut stems and hand-pull upper root system; cut and daub main stem; spot spray regrowth; collect removed stems and dispose at green garden waste collection site.

Mar 202017

Firethorns, Pyracantha sp. at the foot slope of Mt Majura (W. Pix 18.02.2010). Firethorns are spread by birds which eat the fruits and excrete the seeds in the native bush.

Coming up Weed Swap Weekend 1st & 2nd April 2017, from 8.30am to 4.45pm.

Weed Swap is a joint initiative of the Australian Native Plants Society and the ACT Government to encourage residents to remove woody weeds from their gardens, safely dispose them and select free Australian native plants as a bush friendly alternative to grow. Weed Swap is held in spring and autumn each year.

Native plants at the Weed Swap site (photograph ANPS website)

What to do: Remove the woody weeds from your garden; bring the remains to the green waste recycling center at either Canberra Sand and Gravel in Belconnen or Corkhill Brothers near Mugga Lane tip; go to the Weed Swap stall at these locations and receive Australian replacement plants of your choice. There will be a range of native ground-covers, clumping plants, small medium and large shrubs and a few trees available such as Wattles, Bottlebrushes, Correas, Grevilleas and Boobialla. All plants are clearly labelled and volunteers will offer planting and care advice.

FoMM’s Weed Swap info table at the Hackett shops in 2016 (W. Pix)

For further information visit the info table hosted by the Friends of Mt Majura at the Hackett shops in the week prior to Weed Swap; read this Weed-Swap Fact sheet; check out the Australian Native Plants Society Weed Swap Website

Target species for removal: Cotoneaster, Firethorn, Privets, Japanese Honeysuckle, Cootamundra wattle and Brooms.

Enquiries: Phone Canberra Connect on 132281 or contact the Weed Swap co-ordinator Rosemary Blemings phone 6258 4724, e-mail weedswap@nativeplants-canberra.asn.au

View some of the common woody weeds that occur within the Mount Majura Nature Reserve at the FoMM Woody Weeds Flickr Group: click here

Mar 022017

Suckers of English Elm, Ulmus porcera, on a dug-out root (W. Pix). Suckers develop from root buds.

Please give a hand on Sunday 19 March and help remove Woody Weeds in the nature reserve east of The Fair. This working party follows-up extensive work carried out in 2016 to remove English Elm, Briar Rose, Hawthorn and other woody weeds at the northwest corner of Mt Majura nature reserve. English Elms are hard to control due to extensive suckering. Follow-up control work is crucial to remove this invasive weed.

When: Sunday, 19 March, 9am – 12noon, give as much of your time as you want.

Where: Nature park east of The Fair, North Watson; access nature park entrance Tay / Ian Nicol Streets; click on this map to view the work area.

What: Follow up woody weed control using the cut & daub method.

Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, body-covering clothing; tools will be provided.

No experience required however novice weeders are requested to come early for an introduction.

Inquiries: secretary@majura.org

Mobile phone during event: 0435 357 172

Woody Weeds @ Mt Majura’s northwest slope south of Valour Park.

Since 2012, FoMM volunteers work in an area on the northwest corner of Mt Majura east of The Fair, North Watson to reclaim degraded grassy woodland. One of the many tasks is the removal of woody weeds and their replacement with local native shrubs to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Our focus in 2016 was removing woody weeds in the gully that runs along Valour Park, a memorial park situated south of Federal Highway and on the adjacent land south of the gully. The most prevalent woody weeds were English Elm (Ulmus procera) and Hawthorn. They are the off-spring from plants cultivated in the Valour Park from where they spread by seeds (bird droppings) and from root suckers. There were also many Briar Roses, some formed thickets over 2 m in height and diameter.

English Elm re-sprouting from the base of a previously cut stem (W.Pix)

A number of English Elms north of the gully had been cut before (not by FoMM volunteers). We discovered that basically all the cut trees re-sprouted and hundreds of suckers grew from a massive root stock as shown on the photographs. Suckers develop from root buds often in response to stress.

In order to treat the suckers we lifted the roots with the suckers, cut them on both sides and daubed each end with glyphosate. It was a huge amount of work! More suckers grew since last year however the good news is that they are less than expected. We hope to treat those at this working party.

View pictures of treated English elms at the Canberra Nature Map sightings 2727246 and 3343416.

Control of woody weeds using the cut and daub method.

Cut stems close to ground level and immediately treat cut surface with herbicide glyphosate (Roundup or equivalent product) applied at high concentration e.g. 1 part glyphosate : 2 parts water; apply herbicide mix with spray or dauber.

The plant’s natural protective mechanism acts very quickly to seal-off the cut surface which stops herbicide penetration into the sap stream. It is therefore important to treat the cut surface immediately, i.e. within a few seconds after the cut; the longer the treatment is delayed, the poorer the result will be. If necessary cut and treat each stem of a multi-stemmed plant such as Briar Rose separately to avoid delayed herbicide treatment.


Briar Rose (front) and Hawthorn (background) removed in 2016 east of The Fair (Photo W.Pix).

Nov 232016

echium-plantagineum-patersons-curse-majura-paddocks-crop-rs-dscn0280PLEASE  HELP!

The very welcome rain this season benefits our shrubs, trees and native ground covers planted and direct seeded at The Fair. Unfortunately the rain also triggered a menace of weeds. Our monthly working bees are not sufficient to get on top of the weeds before they release seeds.

Please come along to this extra weeding session and help hand weeding and bagging flowering Paterson’s Curse, Echium plantagineum at The Fair.

When: This coming Saturday 26 November 4-6pm

Where: Meet at Tay Street park entrance, The Fair, North Watson; view the work area on this map

Please bring sun protection, sturdy shoes, and a pair of garden cloves if you have them.
Bags, some gloves and some weeding tools will be provided.

Enquiries and RSVP: E secretary@majura.org or P 62477515

Please conduct your own weed patrol if Saturday doesn’t suit you. Bags will be deposited at the Tay Street park entrance. 

Nov 122016

Patterson curseHelp with removing protective guards that have been outgrown by their plant inhabitants or go on WEED PATROL to tackle the Paterson’s Curse , Saffron Thistle and other weeds.

Where: at the FAIR ENTRANCE GATE by the GRAVEL CARPARK, Tay Street.

When:  Sunday 20 November, 9am – 12pm.  Please give as much time as you can spare.

Bring: Sun Protection , water bottle, and garden gloves if you have them. Tools and tea will be provided.

PLEASE email an RSVP for your Participation to : secretary@majura.org because this really helps in organising the right amount of equipment.