Weed Management Plan

The aim of this project is to remove high threat invasive weed species using environmentally friendly, non-chemical processes, from the Down's Estate Community Project management area.

This will create opportunities for natural re-emergence of the seed bank of indigenous plant species.
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Our goal is also to educate volunteers and the community about these techniques and involve them in monitoring the effectiveness of these processes to remove and prevent re-emergence of these weeds.

 

This will create opportunities for natural re-emergence of the seed bank of indigenous species.

Plant health and survival will be regularly monitored to ensure success of program.

 

The project will improve:
 
  • community knowledge and skills of ecological regeneration works

  • extent and condition of important remnant habitat

  • wildlife habitat and corridor linkages

  • community connection to our local environment and involvement in ecosystem restoration
     

Community Education and Resources

 

Non-chemical techniques used for weed eradication are relevant to:

  • home gardens

  • public spaces

  • farm scale

 

We offer the information here as a resource for local residents, public & private land managers and farmers to use for environmentally friendly weed eradication that aligns with Frankston City Council's Greening Frankston program. Subsequently there will be a reduced volume of chemicals entering the environment and impacting the health of land managers, their families, surrounding residents and produce consumers. Soils will be healthier and potentially more productive.

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STEP 1   WHOLE OF SITE AUDIT AND ANALYSIS OF WEEDS


The first audit was undertaken in 2019

The primary targets

  • Common Wild Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus L. agg.)

  • African Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum)
     

Other weeds targeted:

  • Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides)

  • Cape Ivy (Delairea odorata)

  • Spiny Rush (Juncus acutus)

  • Broom (Cytisus scoparius)

  • Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum)
     

The weeds were found in one of these areas:

  • in the easier to monitor areas around the garden or shed where monitoring and removal can be more easily carried out by DECP volunteers as they work in the garden normally.

  • in the unused section of the site
     

Weed Area Map:

  • On this side of the site there were 10 main weed removal areas

  • This map is to show locations of weeds and divides them into areas which can be monitored by regular surveys and mowing as needed.

  • On this part of the site there were 10 main areas that weeds were removed from.

  • Each area had one or more examples of blackberry, boxthorn, bridal creeper, cape ivy, spiny rush and broom.

  • The three red spots are areas where boxthorns were removed and will need specific monitoring
     

Map of DECP Unused Area: N↑
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STEP 2   RESEARCH

The method of removal for each of the targeted plants was researched and is recorded in the Targeted Plant List, along with a picture in the Weed Removal PDF.

Among the non-chemical means of weed eradication we investigated the potential for hiring goats as one effective method. Despite the proven efficacy of goats being used in particularly inaccessible spaces it was decided that the logistics and public usage of this site made it inappropriate for this task. If you want more information on the use of goats on larger properties, see this video on Colin's goats in action, from GrazeAway.

Goat Eating

STEP 3  CREATING A STRATEGY

Herbicides can’t be used

 

As the site is adjacent to a protected Ramsar wetland and shares a water table, all weed management on site is to be carried out without the use of any herbicides.

The reason that this labour intensive approach is to be applied in this situation is to:

  • preserve the ground integrity as much as possible

  • ensure the weeds don’t come back

  • ensure the water table is not further affected by harmful chemicals
     

Primary methods of removal are:  

  • physical removal

  • sun starvation, achieved either by

    • covering of the plants with black out tarps (solarisation)

    • removal of foliage by regular mowing, which is to be applied where the full removal of root systems would either have a negative effect on the surrounding plants or soil

Solarisation.png

Laying of black plastic and heavy duty tarps to solarise weeds in preparation for planting

Close Monitoring and Maintenance for next 2-3 years
 

Vigilance is the primary requirement for the success of this approach.
 

It is necessary to dig out all of the trailing roots to permanently remove the weeds. Otherwise the area will easily become overgrown and covered with weed resurgence. Regular clearing and monitoring will be required to ensure successful eradication.
 

Regular monitoring and action is needed in the weed removal areas. We will:

  • enact a systematic process (Ongoing Weed Monitoring Schedule and Survey) until the reserve energy of the original plant is exhausted and the remaining roots lose their vigour and die off

  • closely monitor the affected areas for possibly 24-36 months after the initial removal

  • remove shoots and leaves from the rootstock of the original plant

  • to track the efficacy of the program month to month there will need to be weed monitoring

  • monitor peripheral areas to ensure no new shoots or re-establishment of a root base

  • maintain visibility of the affected areas by mowing the surrounding grasses short enough to see shoots as soon as they appear

  • install physical weed barriers for creeping weeds such as Kikuyu

     

Weed Monitoring Schedule;

  • will be adjusted according to weed and grass growth rates

  • will count the initially removed shoots from each main area, allowing an assessment of the rootstock strength

  • will be seasonally adjusted to allow for strong growing times in late winter and early spring.

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STEP 4   IMPLEMENTATION

Weed Monitoring Schedule

This is a calendar for surveying weed growth and recommended actions to take.

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Weeks highlighted in Yellow:

On these weeks a survey of the affected areas should be conducted as well as mowing to maintain ground visibility. 

Weeks highlighted in Green:

These weeks are to survey and chip out any shoots that are emerging and only mow if necessary.

 
 
 
Review Process for Schedule
  • To monitor the changes in weed growing speed and numbers

  • Compare to the last survey and the survey of the same time the previous year, at the time of the survey. This will show the progression of the weed removal.

  • If there are no weeds showing for more than a month, then the weed monitoring might begin to be adjusted, then phased out

     

Weed Management Survey:

The survey will be done as per the weed monitoring schedule to record how many weeds are still active in which areas. The Survey sheet includes instructions as to how we survey the site efficiently, and a sheet to record results.


Download TEMPLATE FOR WEED MANAGEMENT SURVEY here

Refer to the Targeted Plant List for removal methods and images for each of the targeted plants.

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Installation of wooden weed barrier by PPWCMA (Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority) team to prevent reinfestation of kikuyu into community garden area.