If you are lucky enough to live next to a National Park or any bushland here are some tips on what you can do to keep our bushland in great shape.
- Regenerate weedy edges by removing weeds close to healthy bush and let the native plants establish in the area you have removed the weeds and then gradually remove more weeds. It is more manageable to go from good to bad slowly.
- Don’t mulch or landscape the bush as this reduces biodiversity.
- Don’t dump garden waste as this encourages weeds.
- Don’t build structures or veggie gardens.
- Encourage native ground covers in fire breaks to increase biodiversity.
Dumping of Garden Waste
Dumping your garden waste and weeds is a problem because each part of the bush is a specific vegetation community. (Once the HSC Vegetation Map has loaded, zoom in to see the different vegetation communities.) Each vegetation community supports a whole ecosystem and weed infestations impact the whole ecosystem. Often weeds are from other places where natural predators keep them under control. In this new place they can run rampant causing the whole ecosystem to be out of balance. The endemic native plants and insects have evolved together. The insects and birds pollinate the plants and the plants provide sustenance for a whole array of animals. For example the native grass Microlaena stipodes (Weeping Grass) supports over 8 native butterflies.
Dumping garden waste creates a cascading effect with the loss of more and more native plants and animals.
Clearing of Good Bush and ‘Landscaping’ the Bush
To remove native bush and place down mulch and plant a few species from a nursery may seem organised and structured but in reality this is what you have done:
- Limited the number of species to 1 or 2 where naturally there may have been 30 or 40
- Introduced a hybrid grevillea, for example, which attracts larger honeyeaters such as noisy miners, rainbow lorikeets and little wattle birds that force out the smaller birds. You end up with fewer birds in your area and overall less biodiversity.
Building Structures and Veggie Gardens
The National Park is a refuge for our native flora and fauna and NPWS (NSW Parks and Wildlife Service) will eventually make you remove the structure or veggie patch.
Building fire breaks
RFS encourage fire breaks and it is possible for them to be created in a way that supports our park. Don’t plant buffalo grass but instead encourage native ground layer species or plant out a wild meadow.
Working out Which Plants and How to Get Them
Check out the vegetation community map of the Hornsby Shire. Click on I want to Find an Address. Start entering your suburb and let it suggest an option, select your suburb and a street or one very close to you and a street number. Zoom in to the point on the map using the + sign. Go back to the legend and the colour corresponds to your vegetation community.
Now you can search the below document which is a survey of the plants found in each vegetation community in the Hornsby Shire. For example if your vegetation community was Yellow Bloodwood Woodland page 38 shows you the ground layer species.
The Hornsby Shire has an amazing native nursery which supplies plants to worthwhile projects in the community as well as giving free giveaways to residents however you cannot just go and purchase plants. There are other commercial native nurseries that supply plants such as Harvest Plants and Seeds.
We Can Help
Friends of Berowra Valley want to help teach you how to encourage a healthy edge so please sign up for a free session. We will:
- Organise 5 free native plants appropriate to your area to pickup from the HSC Warada Ngurang Community Nursery.
- show you the vegetation community your bushland is part of and what plants should be there.
- show you how to record wildlife and identify the wildlife close to you.
- give you some ideas on how to get hold of the correct plants.
- help you identify weeds and show you how to remove them in a managed way with the least impact on any wildlife depending on them.