WoW! Wild on Weeds Hand Weeding Sessions (20/09/2020)

Common Storkbill, Erodium cicutarium, a beautiful invasive weed (Canberra Nature Map)

Following terrific hand weeding sessions in June, the Friends of Mt Majura (FoMM) will be hosting another set of hand weeding sessions on each Sunday in September from 1 pm to 4 pm to tackle herbaceous weeds at various grassy woodland sites on Mt Majura.

Our next hand weeding session will be on Sunday, 20th September at FoMM’s rehabilitation site in the nature reserve east of The Fair and our target weeds will be Capeweed, Common Storkbill and Cleavers (Sticky Weed).

The sessions will be postponed to the following Sunday if it rains.

We will be using and demonstrating a new weeding tool which is a Must-Have for gardeners particularly with Capeweed and similar weed problems.

Please follow the hygiene steps outlined below, choose your personal weeding patch and go wild on weeds.

When: Sunday, 20th September 2020, from 1 pm to 4 pm; gift as much time as you like. Please come for an introduction of target weeds at 1 pm.

Where: nature reserve east of The Fair, North Watson; please register your participation at the volunteer registration table at the nature park entrance; click on this map to view the working area and site with the registration table.

What: Removal of herbaceous weeds by hand.

Bring: Please BYO drinking water and garden gloves; we will provide disposable gloves, hand sanitizer and weeding tools.

Hygiene practice: Use a hand sanitizer provided at the volunteer registration table; choose your personal disposable pair of gloves (there are 3 sizes); sign in the activity sheet; put your own garden gloves over the top of the disposable gloves or use one pair provided at the registration table and choose your alcohol-wiped weeding tool.

Inquires: projects@majura.org

Phone contact during the WoW sessions:  0435 357 172

Cleavers, with whorls of four to eight leaves at nodes on the hollow stems

Why hand weeding? FoMM volunteers use various methods to control herbaceous weeds. We spot-spray with selective herbicide when they are in an early rosette stage and grow in open areas, where the collateral damage of native groundcover plants is minimal.

We prefer hand weeding where native groundcover plants are prevalent, or where weeds grow under trees (cleavers often found under trees) to avoid an upwards drift of small herbicide droplets that have the potential to damage trees.

Hand weeding is the only option when the weed rosettes are too advanced for treatment with the selective herbicide that is available for volunteer use (Capeweed can be treated with MCPA up to the early 5-leaf stage) or when the weeds already in advanced seeding stage (Common Storksbill).

About Common Storksbill and Capeweed and Cleavers

Common Storksbill rosette with fern-like leaves and flowers (Canberra Nature Map)

Cleavers, Galium aparine, also known as Stickyweed, is an annual plant of the Madder (Rubiaceae) family that originated in Eurasia. It is a straggly scrambling or climbing plant with weak branched stems up to 1.5m long. It can form dense masses of tangled vegetation that smother native plants. The seeds are dispersed by water, on the plant and especially by people or animals as the fruits hook on to clothing and the coats of animals.

Common Storksbill, Erodium cicutarium is an exotic annual plant with fern-like leaves and pink 5-petalled flowers in spring; the fruits are elongated and like a stork’s bill in shape.

The species reproduces by seeds that can be spread on animal fur, in contaminated grain, hay, straw, manure, and on vehicles and machinery. Seeds can remain viable for many years, and form extensive seed banks in the soil.

Capeweed, Arcotheca calendula, rosette and flowerheads (Canberra Nature Map)

Capeweed, Arcotheca calendula is an annual exotic plant of the daisy family (Asteraceae)  that originates from South Africa; the rosettes consist of deeply lobed leaves and the flower heads are yellow with conspicuous dark centres.

The species reproduces by seed. The seeds are commonly dispersed short distances by wind and can also become attached to birds, animals, shoes and clothing. They are also spread to new areas in contaminated soil, dumped garden waste, by vehicles and machinery, and in contaminated agricultural produce (i.e. fodder).

Both species occur in disturbed sites and spread easily in areas of bare soil where the perennial grass cover has disappeared as a result of overgrazing.

The only long term control method is to establish and maintain a vigorous native ground cover of perennial grasses and other herbs.

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