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So long, daphne!

As part of last week’s Volunteer week, a dedicated team of volunteers involved with the removal of a creeping invasion of Daphne laurel from the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington got together to celebrate their success. Once established, the complete eradication of any weed is a serious challenge. Where seeds are spread by birds or mammals, it can be spread to hidden spots where it can remain undiscovered for years. If seeds or suckers remain in the soil, there needs to be a plan and resources in place for potentially years of follow up work.

Originally from Western Europe, Daphne laurel is an established and problematic weed in New Zealand, Canada and parts of the USA. It’s believed to have been inadvertently introduced to Tasmania via root stock (there are many other non-invasive species of Daphne that are popular with gardeners). Unfortunately the cool and shady climate of Fern Tree provided ideal growing conditions and it has spread to multiple private properties in the region over the years.

Through our Naturally Inspired grants program, NRM South provided $7,500 in funding to assist Bushcare Hobart with an eradication project for Daphne laurel – with funds used for contractor work, working bees and the publication of a weeds booklet. The project received fantastic support from private landholders, with 51 of the 54 identified affected properties having weed removal work done on their properties. Fern Tree is known for its rugged terrain and a core group of volunteers devoted hours to scrambling through steep bushland to map the full extent of the invasion – 715 data points were mapped in total, representing thousands of individual plants.

Bushcare Hobart will continue to work with landholders over the coming years on follow-up work, and there are plans to extend search areas further out from the priority area. Work is also being done to try and get daphne laurel listed as a Declared Weed, which will allow more resources to be directed towards eradication efforts.

Without NRM South’s contribution, this project would never have happened. As most of the weeds are on private land, Council doesn’t have the resources to fund eradication work. By getting on top of this problem early, the relative costs and effort have been far less – if we hadn’t tackled it now, in a few more years it could have become a serious problem – both for our environment and also for the amount of money and effort it would have taken to resolve.” Michelle Storer – Team Leader Bushcare, Hobart City Council

Overall this project has been a great example of the work that a small group of dedicated volunteers can achieve with minimal resources and maximum enthusiasm. Well done to everyone involved!

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