Thank you to volunteers Di and Sandy and the team from Murray Valley Centre for chipping away, quite literally, at the bulbs that have become a plague at the old Leneva School site.
Wild Watsonia (Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera) is a highly invasive bulb species. It’s a problem chiefly because it is a tough competitor, dominating ground flora and preventing any other species from regenerating. As the tops die off over summer, the extent of the problem can be difficult to see until winter when the new leaves emerge. What we saw this winter at our site was alarming, despite spray treatment 6 months ago.
Watsonia is very difficult to treat, as the main bulbs develop many tiny ‘bulbils’, which detach easily and stay in the ground if the main bulb is pulled up. Spraying in winter is the most effective treatment, but this particular site being so wet precludes spraying when runoff would have downstream effects.
With all the rain this winter, now is a perfect time to dig up the bulbs, so our ever-willing volunteers are tackling them by hand. We are aiming to manually – carefully – dig the bulbs out, keeping the bulbils attached to the parent bulb, and replace them with native wetland grasses.
Just like many of Parklands projects over the past two decades, there is always that daunting period when your efforts seem so small compared to the scale of the work required.
We look forward to transforming this site so that the current monoculture of Watsonia bulbs is replaced with diverse native groundcovers, bringing back the habitat for birds, bees, insects and plentiful other native fauna.
Want to get involved? Join us for our regular Leneva Bush Blitz working bee and bbq lunch on the site.
See you on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at the Old Leneva School site.