Redgum Park – Post fire regeneration
By Tracy Abbas
Redgum Park Bushcare Group in Bullaburra has been working over the years to regenerate four sites contained within that Reserve. The four sites are the roads that bound the site: Genevieve Road, Cottle Road, De Quency Road and Boronia Road. In 2018 the Group was battling a huge infestation of Watsonia, Agapanthus, Freesia, Montbretia and Western Australian Bluebells (Billardiera heterophylla) all compounded by a canopy of twenty three Pine trees. Taking advantage of a controlled burn that was undertaken by BMCC and RFS, we were able to get on top of the weeds, a task that initially appeared insurmountable.
Over the coming months we continued to hand remove Watsonia and Agapanthus. When the burn occurred in October 2018, we remained off the site for six months and concentrated on Boronia Road and Cottle Road entrances. Within this time in December 2018, the group monitored the site and realised only the Watsonia and Agapanthus were sprouting after the fire. The emerging shoots were sprayed as there was very minimal other regrowth or seedlings present.
18 months later, with minimal follow-up of the Watsonia, Montbretia and Agapanthus, the native groundcovers sprang up and other coloniser species are establishing. We are presently enjoying fields of Donkey Orchid, Bearded Orchid, Leek Orchid and various Thelymitra species.
Meanwhile, another area of Redgum Park was being strangled by vines and creepers. Primary work was undertaken on the Cottle Road entrance, at the same time limiting the impact of weeds on the population of Pultanea glabra, listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act 1999.
During the Summer months, contractors were engaged to work on the Boronia Road Reserve entrance, which included widening of the entrance track, removal of a large Pine tree, as well as large number of Agapanthus, Pittosporum and Cotoneaster, along with the Japanese Honeysuckle that entwined them. The entrance was then mulched using the chipped material from the Pine tree that was removed. Plantings of Banksias, Acacias and Hakeas were added to act as vegetation screening for adjacent neighbours. These local natives will also give the entrance some connectivity to the Reserve and make it more appealing to residents and visitors.
The important task of removing agapanthus heads almost filled a bag! We also worked on carefully digging up more formosa lily.
We spent the afternoon removing the watsonia and montbretia. We have been wondering if the flakey sections from the bottom of a watsonia bulb are likely to grow new plants, so we planted some and will keep an eye on the patch.
We continued to treat the watsonia this month adjacent to the road, manually removing as well as trialing a method where leaves are wiped with herbicide. We also had a look at the previous months bluebell creeper treatment site where a small number of small plants were observed (and hand-pulled) and the piles had died off.
This month we tackled some of the watsonia growing adjacent to the road. We also started to cut and paint the bluebell creeper and drag it out and pile it on the edge of the track, this will make dealing with any fallen seed easier to remove.
Some of the group attended the ‘Fire and Bushcare’ half day workshop organised by the Nature Conservation Council and Blue Mountains Bushcare Network. Redgum Park was one of the sites visited as a hazard reduction burn is planned for the near future.
- discuss the challenges of re-introducing fire into bushland in the Blue Mountains and managing for ecological outcomes
- discuss the opportunities and considerations for bush care groups working on sites where hazard reduction burns are planned
- discuss the logistics of planning and conducting small hazard reduction burns
Mapping the Bluebell Creeper infestation has started using a GPS to map individuals and their approximate size, easier said than done!!
This month we spent the afternoon finding and tagging the Bluebell Creeper plants at the Genevieve Rd site. This weed has been climbing some of trees and shrubs, as seen on this young eucalypt.
Bluebell creeper smothering a young eucalypt (left) and how to flatten a large pile of Bluebell Creeper before treatment (right)
Our Bushcare day was rained out but the week before we had the pleasure of the Blue Mountains Conservation Societies Plant Study Group visit the site to do survey of the plants near the bluebell creeper site. Monica also organised the first monitoring survey, more plots too go.
Plant study group and the stem of a bluebell creeper.