This was the 15th trip since Peter started as team leader and while his team have worked on a number of weed species during that time, the main focus has been on Abrus precatorius subspecies africanus.
In the beginning, the species had infected at least 40ha in and around the village of Happy Valley. It was extensively established and in many areas had extended into the canopy of trees. The main control method used was foliar spraying with 1.5% roundup, using 20L back packs. The population is now very low, and Peter is pleased to report that no work was done with back packs this trip, and he is not expecting to be using back pack sprays again.
This trip, the team inspected a large area that we had been working on since March 2014, and found almost no mature plants. There were numerous small seedlings that were removed by hand in the main, or where they had grown, runners were sprayed with 1.5% roundup from 500ml hand sprays. This is a huge achievement, and the result rewards many hours of back breaking work by the volunteers.
The areas inspected and treated include the area opposite the Rotary shed, the areas around the rotary shed extending South to the Yidney Rocks Bypass Road grid, inside the dingo fence East of the Bypass Road, either side of the road extending North West of the dump and either side of the Yidney Scrub Road outside the grid. Since the mature plants are all but gone from these areas, Peter hopes for no seed set this summer. Their aim is to ensure no future seed set and to follow up by removing seedlings as they emerge.
Between the Yidney Rocks Bypass Road and the beach, the program of locating and destroying Abrus continues. Ongoing work is required in this area, but the population is now well under control. Access has been very difficult in this area due to heavy infestation of scrambling Easter Cassia and Lantana, but as they work on eliminating those species, they can more easily locate and destroy Abrus. This work will be ongoing for several trips, as the area was in a disgraceful state at the start of the project. Several quite large broad-leafed pepper trees were also destroyed.
The area opposite Rotary shed was one of the most weed infested areas at the commencement of work in March 2014. The Happy Valley team did considerable follow up work in this area hand pulling seedling Abrus, and spraying any larger plants using 500ml hands sprays. They also patrolled the whole area removing any remaining Cassia, Lantana and basket asparagus. This area is now all but free of these species.
Ongoing work on Abrus and continual follow up inspection of all areas is essential to remove emergent Abrus seedlings. Increasingly this will be by hand pulling. The use of Roundup has massively decreased and will reduce to all but zero, assuming no more infected areas are discovered.
Ongoing work on Cassia and Lantana will focus mainly on the Yidney Rocks Bypass area for the November trip and the 2018 year. At the same time, the team will mop up any located plants in our work area. Very little remains in the areas they have been working, except in the Yidney Rocks Bypass Road area where there is still a huge amount of work to be done.
FIDO will partner with the Fraser Island Association for the May 2018 Cassia Blitz in the first week of May 2018. The Cassia will be in flower and thus easier to locate. Peter’s team will focus on the area immediately South of Happy Valley between the beach and the Yidney Rocks Bypass Road. This area is very heavily infested. It would be great if other land care groups could join us for this May blitz. Plants will be pulled where ever possible, and large plants cut off at the base and squirted with roundup.
Trip Volunteers: Peter Shooter – Nambour, Chris Breitenbach – Auchenflower, Maurice McCullum – West End, Roger Williams – Mooloolaba, Jane Minor – Alexandra Headlands, Pat Turner – Montville, Rhonda and Graham Wood – Fairfield and Robyn Webster – Springwood, Blue Mountains
Report submitted by Peter Shooter, FIDO