Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – February 2018

Working Party @ The Fair – Sunday 18 February 2018, 9am to 12 noon
Please give a hand at the FoMM working party at The Fair, North Watson. Work will include treatment of woody weeds around the deep gully north of the planting area and mulching the trees and shrubs planted last winter as part of National Tree Day. Please come early for an introduction and give as much time as you like.
Where: Nature reserve east of the Fair, North Watson; access and volunteer registration at park entrance Tay / Ian Nicol Streets.
Bring: Sun protection, drinking water and wear sturdy shoes and body covering clothing.
Enquiries: Email
Click here for more information

FoMM volunteers tackling woody weeds. (Photo: Waltraud Pix)

Ant Walk – Sunday 25 February, 10.00 am to 12 noon
Join ant specialist Ajay Narendra for a morning stroll to glimpse the fascinating world of one of the most dominant animals on the planet.
Where: Mt Ainslie Nature Reserve; meet at the Canning Street nature park entrance.
Bring and wear: Sun protection, enclosed shoes and a magnifying glass if you have one. A gold coin donation to support the conservation work of the ParkCare groups would be much appreciated. Children accompanied by adults are especially welcome. The walk will be cancelled if it rains.
Enquiries: Email or ph 6247 7515
Click here for more information.

FoMM Ant Walk. (Photo: Waltraud Pix)
Monitoring and Control of St John’s Wort: PLEASE HELP!!
St John’s Wort is a particularly prolific and aggressive weedy invader of native environments and pastureland. Large parts of the ACT and its environs are heavily infested. Every plant allowed to flower sets very large quantities of seed, which can remain viable for up to 12 years. The slopes of Mount Ainslie behind the War Memorial are full of it. Masses more extend for kilometres along the median strips of the Federal Highway outside the ACT border. Mount Majura has had a major infestation opposite The Fair in Watson, which is now being brought under control. Fortunately the rest of the Mount Majura nature reserve has only light infestations. However, these will rapidly expand if not constantly monitored and dealt with. This summer, thanks to the efforts of some FoMM members who have been tracking down St John’s Wort and either destroying it or reporting it for destruction, the infestations around Mount Majura have been further reduced. However patches and individual weeds are still going unidentified and untreated.As enthusiastic as they are, the current small band of St John’s Wort attackers are too few, and their efforts need to be coordinated to effectively control the weed. More volunteers are needed to monitor the presence of the weed and report its locations. If there are enough volunteers and each volunteer has a defined area of manageable size to monitor, the task will become much easier and more effective. Duplication will be avoided. One of our members, Don Beattie, has suggested that a St John’s Wort monitoring group be set up for this purpose. If you are interested in participating in this group, please email FoMM Secretary by Tuesday 20 February. We would really appreciate your help in arresting the spread of this weed. If you want to help but are unsure what the weed looks like, we will show you how to recognise it.Here are some very important technical details for interested members who have not dealt with St John’s Wort before:
St John’s Wort cannot be effectively removed other than by spraying. If it is pulled up or dug up, any root pieces left behind will sprout new plants next growing season, thus turning one weed into a cluster of weeds. Seed cases are spread by sticking to the coats of animals, and seed is spread by wind, running water and soil clinging to shoes and machinery. The herbicide approved by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service for spraying St John’s Wort is Starane, a selective herbicide that does not kill grass. It is used on St John’s Wort up to early seed set stage. As seed matures, herbicides become relatively ineffective and so control measures shift to cutting off and bagging seed heads. The old stems will die off and the plants will resprout from the base in late winter. Spraying can resume in spring when the regrowth is visible and vigorous. Volunteers who want to get involved in spraying St John’s Wort (and other weeds) require a Chemical Accreditation to use herbicide in the nature reserve. The accreditation can be obtained through one-day training courses that are free for ParkCare volunteers. The course covers potential hazards and risks associated with the use of herbicide and provide practical information with regards to safe chemical handling and application.
St Johns Wort flowers and a patch of St Johns Wort out of control. (Photos: Don Beattie)

Other news and events:

Black Mountain Symposium – 24-25 August 2018. THE PAST 50 YEARS INFORMING THE NEXT 50
Friday 24 August 2018. Talks at CSIRO Discovery Centre with wine and cheese after.
Saturday 25 August 2018. Walks in Black Mountain Nature Reserve.
Natural environment themes: Diversity and ecology of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and fire ecology.
Cultural environment themes: Aboriginal history and values; colonial and national uses; a place of protest, recreation, education and scientific endeavour. Cost: Symposium talks $55; Wine and cheese $10; Guided walk $5. Registration and program details will be posted on the symposium website coming soon.

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