Wild on Weeds (07/06/2020)

Members of the Davidson family remove weeds growing under the canopy of a tree (J. Marsh).

FoMM’s next weeding session will be this coming Sunday 7 June.

Join in the fun!

When: Sunday, 7th June 2020, from 1pm to 4pm

Where: nature reserve south of The Fair, North Watson; we will focus our efforts on weeds growing under trees in an area shown on this map; please register your participation at the volunteer registration table, nature park entrance intersection Tay Street and Ian Nicol Street, The Fair.

What: Removal of herbaceous weeds growing under trees.

Bring: Please BYO sun protection, drinking water, garden gloves and a small mattock or trowel if you have one.

Hygiene practice: Use the hand sanitizer provided at the volunteer registration table; choose your personal one-way pair of gloves (there are 3 sizes); sign in the activity sheet; put your own garden gloves over the top of the one-way gloves or choose gloves provided at the registration table; choose your weeding tool if you don’t have your own tool (many weeds growing in the loose soil under trees can be pulled without a tool).

Inquires: projects@majura.org

Read Jenni’s report below about our “Wild on Weeds” session on Saturday 30th May.

Climbing saltbush, Einadia nutans with arrow-shaped leaves; prostrating plants grow under trees of grassy woodlands.(W.Pix).

What more could we want?  A warm sunny afternoon, fifteen enthusiastic weeders, hand sanitiser and sanitised tools at the ready, disposable gloves, and lots of weeds under trees….

Well, the weeds were not particularly wanted; they were the target of the third “Wild on Weeds” session that Friends of Mount Majura held south of The Fair revegetation project on Saturday 30th May.

The Davidson family of five who COVID-walked Mt Majura over the past months, gave back to Majura Nature Reserve by donating 3 hours of a perfect Saturday afternoon to pulling up piles of Paterson’s Curse.

Stressed COVID-refugees sought solace at suitable social distances, amongst large lush weeds under shady trees. They meditatively removed hundreds of weeds to create satisfyingly large weed heaps.  Other COVID-stressed people released tension by wielding mattocks at thickets of thistles, after removing and bagging the flower heads.

The main weeds which were suffocating and out-competing smaller delicate native plants were: Paterson’s Curse, Sowthistle, Capeweed, Indian Hedge Mustard and Buchan Weed, another species of the mustard family. The weeds smother other ground covers and then die off in summer leaving the bare ground subject to erosion and degradation. They are generally inedible to native animals.

The native Variable Plantain, Plantago varia, can be distinguished from the introduced Ribwort Plantain by its densely hairy leaves and teethed leaf margins, as well as flowers loosely clustered in a cylindrical spike compared to the compact spike of its introduced cousin.

When Paterson’s Curse grows on fertile ground, they can produce huge rosettes of leaves at ground level which prevent anything else from growing or thriving. It was wonderful to release native groundcovers from the stranglehold of giant weeds. Some of those natives were: saltbushes, which grow small juicy berries that lizards eat, tufts of a small matrush, delicate native geraniums, clumps of Vanilla Glycine with their clover-like leaves – they finished flowering 6 weeks ago, the local plantain with its teethed leaf margins and even some local grasses, all of which provide food and shelter to small animals and prevent soil erosion.

FoMM will continue to hold weed massacres on weekends in June, mainly on Sundays, in areas of ecologically significant grassy woodland. The aim is to destroy weeds before they flower or seed, which will reduce the seed bank in the ground and eventually lead to fewer weeds. In turn, we expect the percentage of perennial native ground covers to increase.

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