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War on a Weed of national significance November 18, 2011

Posted by broomegirl in SKIPA Excursions, weeds.
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Victory! An area cleared of Parkinsonia by SKIPA and EK. Follow up treatments will be required however

Weeds have a sly and nasty way of taking over if ignored. So it was with great delight – if not some trepidation – that SKIPA and Environs Kimberley tackled a thorny weed with a bad reputation for ruining a ‘hood.

Tata lizard comfortable amongst the thorns

Parkinsonia aculeata is a Weed of National Significance. A native of South America it was introduced to Australia in the 1890s and has caused problems across NSW, QLD, NT, and WA. (Sounds like the Cane Toad doesn’t it?!) The sprawling, branchy shrub has sharp, long spines which form impenetrable thickets, especially along creek lines. Also called Jerusalem thorn, the pendulous yellow flowers are rather pretty. But the seeds and trees can withstand long dry spells making eradication a long running activity.

A sizeable outbreak of Parkinsonia was found inland from Willie Creek on Goolarabooloo country. Under the guidance of Jason Roe, from Environs Kimberley’s West Kimberley Nature Project, SKIPA set out to clear what we could on one Saturday morning.

No mercy from Michelle and Nadia on this Parkinsonia

Working in pairs with thick gloves we could cut and poison a lot of Parkinsonia and the reward of seeing cleared wetlands free from the prickly menace was great. But in one large, well established thicket some shrubs were so big that we’ll have to return with a chainsaw. Thin saplings could be pulled easily in the soft ground, while others were removed with a chain and ute. Rapid daubing of fresh cut stems with an appropriate herbicide is essential to killing the plant.

Vanessa and Kylie prepare to launch into a Parky

Detailed mapping of the Parkinsonia in this area has not been undertaken. Currently it is inaccurately recorded by the Commonwealth as a core infestation. We will be able to provide them with up to date information on where the Parkinsonia is in this area.

While the work on a muggy morning was hard, and the March flies as horrific as the thorns, the few hours we spent weeding was made enjoyable by great company and team work with plenty of laughs. We were also very well fed! And then the camping overnight on the beach was beautiful.

Beaut campsite for SKIPA and EK

The Parkinsonia infestation will need regular follow ups for removal of new saplings because the seeds remain viable for years. And there is a lot more of this weed to get rid of yet. It’s close proximity and easy access from Broome should make it simple for groups to continue this valuable work, even just for a morning. It all makes a difference!

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