Volunteers vs weeds at Boolcoomatta

Published 15 Oct 2017 
about  Boolcoomatta Reserve  
The wonderful 'weeding crew' in the field: Staphanie, Jeanne, Tony, Meredith, Janet, Jana & Leon (absent - Keith Gooley who was checking cat traps)<br/> The wonderful 'weeding crew' in the field: Staphanie, Jeanne, Tony, Meredith, Janet, Jana & Leon (absent - Keith Gooley who was checking cat traps)
Kurt chainsawing a Pepper Tree with David Adams standing<br/> Kurt chainsawing a Pepper Tree with David Adams standing
David next to a large Boxthorne at Oonartra Dam<br/> David next to a large Boxthorne at Oonartra Dam
Kurt chainsawing a Boxthorne, with volunteer Leon Anesbury pushing the tree away before applying the herbicide<br/> Kurt chainsawing a Boxthorne, with volunteer Leon Anesbury pushing the tree away before applying the herbicide
Volunteer Andrew Weightman cutting the smaller boxthorne before applying herbicide<br/> Volunteer Andrew Weightman cutting the smaller boxthorne before applying herbicide
Leon applying herbicide<br/> Leon applying herbicide
Tony Geyer keeping a tally of the weeds removed and their location<br/> Tony Geyer keeping a tally of the weeds removed and their location
Volunteers Meredith Geyer & Janet Rannard weeding<br/> Volunteers Meredith Geyer & Janet Rannard weeding

In September we had an amazing group of 11 volunteers make the long trek to our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve to help with vital weed management. The group were focused on our long-term management strategy to control the African Boxthorn and Pepper Trees in the beautiful Oonatra Creek system.

It was Reserve Manager Kurt Tschirner’s first large working bee at Boolcoomatta. He said it was fantastic largely due to the brilliant group of hard-working volunteers. The group had come from around Australia to help out, some were regulars and others were visiting Boolcoomatta for the first time. After settling into the restored Shearers' Quarters the group worked together for two weeks removing emergent African boxthorn and Pepper Trees.

Said Kurt: “It was a sterling effort by the volunteers who covered 87 hectares of the Oonartra flood-out nailing 630 Pepper Trees and 2,934 Boxthorns using the cut stump/ herbicide technique. The area was strategically chosen to build on and complement previous control efforts and great headway has been made over the years. Despite big days and numerous boxthorn scratches the volunteers stuck to the task and did so in good humour. I thank them, and look forward to the next one”.

The African Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum) is a large perennial spiny shrub. It's a priority weed in the South Australian Arid Lands region (Declared Category 2 Plant under the Natural Resources Management Act (2004)). It's a problem throughout Australia and is listed as a Weed of National Significance. Originating in southern Africa it was introduced by Europeans as a hedge plant and is now a widespread declared weed.

Like many weed species its dispersal mechanisms are incredibly effective. It can fruit at any time of the year and large plants produce thousands of berries with 20-70 seeds per berry (yikees!).

The Pepper Tree (Schinus molle) is also a priority weed in the South Australian Arid Lands region. This large evergreen tree was introduced by Europeans from South America for shade. Pepper Trees can form dense thickets in swamps and along rivers excluding native vegetation and using valuable ground water. While this tree is not currently declared the South Australian Arid Lands NRM Policy (of which Boolcoomatta is part) 'is to MANAGE sites infested with Pepper Trees'.

We would not be able to implement our weed strategy on Boolcoomatta Station Reserve without the support of our amazing volunteer community. Thanks to all that attended and contributed hard-yakka help.

Kurt chainsawing a Pepper Tree with David Adams standing<br/> Kurt chainsawing a Pepper Tree with David Adams standing
David next to a large Boxthorne at Oonartra Dam<br/> David next to a large Boxthorne at Oonartra Dam
Kurt chainsawing a Boxthorne, with volunteer Leon Anesbury pushing the tree away before applying the herbicide<br/> Kurt chainsawing a Boxthorne, with volunteer Leon Anesbury pushing the tree away before applying the herbicide
Volunteer Andrew Weightman cutting the smaller boxthorne before applying herbicide<br/> Volunteer Andrew Weightman cutting the smaller boxthorne before applying herbicide
Leon applying herbicide<br/> Leon applying herbicide
Tony Geyer keeping a tally of the weeds removed and their location<br/> Tony Geyer keeping a tally of the weeds removed and their location
Volunteers Meredith Geyer & Janet Rannard weeding<br/> Volunteers Meredith Geyer & Janet Rannard weeding