Here come the kids, ready to plant some trees! But before revegetation could occur, ‘woody weeds’ (i.e. Tagasaste, wattles) and introduced grasses needed to be removed to provide space in parts of the understorey and reduce the threat to existing plants. The Mundaring Shire contracted Perry Environmental to carry out this work in June 2013. Larger weeds were cut down with chainsaws and mulched, and the stumps painted to prevent them re-sprouting. Grasses were sprayed with Glyphosate then slashed. Finally, in preparation for planting, a ripping machine (from Scoobs Dingo Hire) was used to dig a series of winding trenches throughout the open areas ready for planting. This was done for two reasons:
1) The ground was highly disturbed and compacted so ripping helped loosen the soil to help new seedlings take root.
2) Shallow trenches provide places for new seedlings to be planted, and help accumulate moisture which increases their water supply and chance of survival.
THEN there was a clean slate - ready for some plants!
In with the New - Planting Begins
A variety of local native trees and shrubs were chosen to plant in Mardo Reserve. A large number of these were donated by enthusiastic staff at New Growth Nursery, who have shown ongoing support to this project. These plants aim to replace the understorey layer (which had mostly disappeared) with species that once occurred in the reserve. The understorey provides habitat for wildlife, absorbs heat and light, and creates suitable conditions for fungi to thrive, which aids with nutrient cycling (breakdown of organic matter), all important parts of a healthy ecosystem. It’s a bit like your stomach digesting breakfast – you’d get quite sick if this stopped happening!
Inspiration for planting initiatives in disturbed bushland can be gained by looking at species occurring in healthy bushland, such as that in National and Regional Parks. The Mundaring Shire’s Tree Canopy Understorey Program (TCUP) assists local shire residents with this process.
Mundaring Primary Students took part in planting new seedlings of a variety of local native species, including Acacia, Calothamnus, Sollya and Kennedia species. You can read more about this in the Mardo News post. A bunch of young children, breathing fresh air and planting new seedlings in the ground really is a refreshing sight!
A BRIEF TRIP BACK IN TIME
2013 was not the first year of environmental works at Mardo Reserve. The Mundaring Shire conducted an initial revegetation project back in 2009, where an environmental committee of Mundaring Primary teachers and parents began planting native seedlings. Then in 2011 and 2012, more weed control and replanting projects were carried out by teachers, students and parents. Julie-Anne, Toni, Brad and other organisers made sure that all students from the school were involved each year, with classes split into separate sessions that worked on a planting roster over several days.
This meant that each and every student planted a tree.
Importantly, too, students were able to return in successive years and find the trees and shrubs they planted as seedlings had grown well over their heads!
The bush was being restored in front of their very eyes.
HELPING in the HEAT
Increasingly dry summers have been something we all find it difficult to cope with, but imagine being a plant stuck out in the baking sun! Mardo Reserve seedlings have been lucky to be helped through a few summers by students conducting watering days. Bags containing fresh water were carried out and poured on the newly planted seedlings to see them through to the next season.