Latest News from the Landcare Groups
Alice Springs Landcare volunteers Andy, Sue and Audrey joined Parks and Wildlife Ranger Matt to complete a cactus segment count today on the biggest plant found in a new infestation north of town. The Grandaddy Coral Cactus measured in at 1½m high, and shy under 3m across, and was leaden with 1150 removable segments. “This is one of the oldest Coral Cactus Ive seen around these parts yet”, said Andy, “and it is producing more segments than we ever expected”. It is also the first time Coral Cactus has been seen here in flower and with fruiting bodies, probably infertile. The infestation looks like to have started by rubbish dumping at the site years ago. Parks and Wildlife Rangers and St Philips College students will complete the removal of the infestation next week.
Alice Springs Landcare is concerned about the spread of invasive Cactus plants in Central Australia. Invasive Cacti impact upon Australia’s natural environment and threaten to spread across the arid zone. There are 20 species of Cactus that are recognised as invasive and have recently been added to the list of declared weeds by the Northern Territory Government.
Landcare spokesperson Andy Vinter said “Invasive Cacti pose a threat because they can easily establish in the bush and require considerable effort to control. Landcare have been strategically removing cacti weeds around the edge of town before they spread further into the bush. So far volunteers have put in over 1300 hours and have removed 2½ tonnes of cactus. Our concern now is that the cactus plants growing in gardens today will become the weeds of tomorrow in the bush”.
Gardeners are being asked to check if they have any invasive cactus varieties in their gardens. Andy said “The two types of invasive cactus plants include the Prickly Pear varieties (Opuntia spp.) with large rounded pads, and the Rope Cacti (Cylindropuntia spp.) that produce small segments that fall off the plant.” Information about these Cacti can be found at the Australian Invasive Cacti Network or Australian Government Weeds of National Significance websites, or from the Northern Territory Government Weeds Management Branch.
To encourage gardeners to surrender their invasive cactus plants Alice Springs Landcare is partnering with Territory Natural Resource Management to offer a replacement plant voucher for a limited time only. This offer only applies to the replacement of invasive cacti species. To receive this offer contact Landcare by email on email@example.com. Send in a photograph of the cactus, with your phone contact details and street address. A Landcare representative will contact you to arrange the plant replacement.
This project is supported by Alice Springs Landcare and Territory Natural Resource Management through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
Another weekend of cactus control gave us a chance to head west of the Stuart Highway and followup on some Coral Cactus growing on Teppa Hill. Tackling this infestation, and another behind Lackman Tce, is a critical step to stop this weed spreading to the west of town. Landcare also had a stall at the Heritage Markets at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Open Day. This gave us a chance to raise awareness about invasive cacti, and to generate interest in our next field day to be held on May 8th at the Telegraph Station.
Last sunday a few volunteers walked through the hills off Kurrajong Drive in search of that last 5 cactus that were found last year. The 5 cacti soon turned into 10, plus a few more, but all were collected in the end. A total of 67kg was taken to landfill from the days efforts. Well done all.
Thanks to all you volunteers for supporting Landcare this year at our cactus control and other projects. For cactus we managed to complete a sweep of previously treated sites through Eastside, Alice Springs. Following up is so import for success. Works at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Reserve by Conservation and land management students from Batchelor Institute continued to make significant headway into controlling this weed population. Two detailed surveys between ASTS and Kurrajong Drive infestations were undertaken by students and volunteers. New plants were mapped by St Phillips Geography class west of the Todd River. 2016 works will head to the west in pursuit.
Pics 1-6 at Kurrajong Dr: 2yr regrowth, one gotta away; tricky hand removal work; the crew; Sprayed patch with hand removal required to finish him off; cactus count.
Today 14 Landcare volunteers dedicated their time to another cactus control day at Cavanagh Cresent, Eastside. A total of 80kg of Coral Cactus was removed to landfill today, completing the second treatment (and hopefully the last) of this area. This backs up the efforts of 2 weeks ago when 20 volunteers collected 100kg of Coral Cactus and removed Buffel Grass around 62 trees in Spencer Valley. These efforts bring our total cactus catch to over one and a half tonnes (see the Cactus count graph below). That’s a lot of cactus that’s now not spreading into the bush.
Still there’s more cactus to catch, and our next field day to be announced will target the Kurrajong Drive area (see map), with future plans to get to Teppa Hill later this year.
Thanks to all who came to Landcare Week at Maynard Park recently. All up we treated about 1400m2 getting out the ‘harder to get to’ Buffel Grass amongst the rocks and native plants. Jude brushcuttered away and found some Corkwoods, and since Ive cut around the other side in case the very dry Buffel lights up. Allan and Bruce lent a hand and took away our Buffel for composting at the community garden. Jimmy and Carmel brought refreshments and an equal dose of vigour to the Buffel work. As did Rosalie, Liz, Louise, Suni, Chris, Dave, Sue, Nicolas, Susan, Sophie, Jed, Scott, Jodie, and Jacob. Great work all. Andy.
Im looking forward to getting back into the Buffel grass at Maynard park this sunday. The native plant regeneration in parts has been fantastic and really shows what the place would look like without this weedy grass. I hope to see you there.
Activities start at 8:30 till 10:30am on Sunday August 31st, meeting at the Rhonda Dianno Oval car park, on Head St next to Braitling Primary School. Some tools will be provided, please wear covered shoes.
The field day will start with a plant identification walk with author* Andy Vinter, followed by Buffel Grass and litter removal.
*The Alice Springs Bush Regeneration Handbook
Alice Springs Landcare volunteers have been tackling weed cacti that are invading bushland areas around Eastside. On Sunday the 25th of August Landcare volunteers completed the 3rd cactus control field day of the year.
These weed cacti are colonising the rocky hills by shedding small branchlets, or segments, which take root and form new plants. Hooked or barbed spines enable the segments to attach to animal fur increasing its ability to spread. With gloves, buckets and tongs volunteers scour the hills collecting all cacti parts that are taken directly to landfill for burial. So far approximately 560 kg of cactus has been removed after 66 volunteers hours.
All the Coral cactus has now been removed from Spencer Valley, and the groups efforts are heading east towards Cavenagh Cres, Burke St and Kurrajong Drive.
A survey conducted by Conservation and land management students with Batchelor Institute confirmed the location of 3 species of Cylindropuntia cacti in this area. These are Coral Cactus (Cylindropuntia fulgida var. mamillata), Devils Rope (Cylindropuntia imbricata), and Jumping Cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera).
Stay tuned for the next cactus control field day and come lend a hand.