Woody Weeds Working Party (19/04/2015)

Sweet Briar Rose with fruits (rose hips) and compound leaves (photo W. Pix)

Come and help control pesky woody weeds on the northwest slope of Mount Majura on Sunday 19 April at this third woody weeds working party in a row. We made a huge inroad at our February and March working bees however there is still a large number of Hawthorns and Sweet Briars to tackle.

When: Sunday, 19 April, 9.00am – 1pm; come for an hour or more.

Where: Meet at the volunteer registration point close to the nature park entry Tay / Ian Nicol Sts at The Fair, North Watson; click on this map to view the meeting point.

What: Cut, daub and frill Sweet Briar Roses, Hawthorns and  Cootamundra wattles.

What to expect: 100s of Hawthorns and Sweet Briars.

Bring: Your friends, sun protection, sturdy shoes, body-covering clothing; we provide tools and morning tea.

Please come at 9am for an introduction of the target weeds and  the safe use of tools and herbicides.

Volunteers arriving late: Please check the map at the registration table for the working area, pick up tools and a bottle with herbicide and sign in the activity sheet.

Contact during the working party: 0435 357 172

Help promote the event, download this poster.

Enquiries: Email  secretary@majura.org or Phone 6247 7515

To view common woody weeds of Mount Majura including the target weeds of the working party click on the FoMM Woody Weeds Flickr Group

Sweet Briar or Briar Rose, Rosa rubiginosa, a native plant of Europe and West Asia, is a major weed particularly of dry and hilly disturbed land. The seeds are spread by birds and foxes which eat the red fleshy fruits (rose hips). The Sweet Briar Rose was introduced to Australia in the early 1800’s as garden and hedge plant. The compound Briar Rose leaf comprise 5-9 leaflets with serrated margins.

Hawthorns have lobed leaves and fleshy red fruits in autumn (Photo W. Pix)

Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna, a thorny deciduous large shrub or small to 10m high tree with roughly wedge-shaped, lobed leaves and  fleshy up to 1cm wide fruits that turn red when ripe.  A native to Europe, Hawthorn was introduced to Australia in the mid 1800s as a hedgerow and ornamental species. It is a highly invasive weed of woodlands and open forests.The seeds are mainly spread by birds.

Hawthorn hosts the Peer and Cherry Slug (Caliroa cerasi), provides rabbit habitat, and – as other autumn-fruit bearing ornamental shrubs such as Firethorn and Privet – has contributed to the increase of Currawong numbers which decimate small woodland birds.

FoMM lobbies the ACT Government to remove 8 large hawthorns at Valour Park located right to the north of Mt Majura nature reserve (letter to the Minster for TAMS, Shane Rattenbury). Approximately 60% of the woody weeds we encounter in the area east of The Fair during follow-up woody weed control sessions are hawthorns.

The compound leaf of Cootamundra Wattle has 3-4 pairs of leaflets with the lowest pair embracing the stem (Photo W.Pix)

Cootamundra wattle, Acacia baileyana is an Australian species, which does not naturally occur in Canberra. As many of the environmental woody weeds that we find in the nature reserve, Cootamundras were introduced to the ACT as an ornamental garden and landscape plant. The highly invasive species is now widespread in Namadgi National Park and the nature reserves of the ACT. The compound blueish-grey-green leaves resemble those of the local species Sliver wattle, Acacia dealbata, which native to the Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie nature reserves.

Compound leaves Cootamundra wattle (top) and Silver wattle (bottom)

How to tell-apart from look-a-likes. The compound blueish-grey-green leaves of a Cootamundra wattle (top in the right panel) resemble those of the local species Sliver wattle. The leaves of Cootamundra wattles have 3-4 pairs of leaflets arranged along the leaf stem, the lowest pair is shorter and embraces the branch to which the leaf is attached. The leaves of Silver wattles have 8-20 pairs of leaflets arranged along to the leaf stem and the lowest pair does not embrace the branch.

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