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What to plant

PLANTS FOR DRY CONDITIONS ON THE NEPEAN PENINSULA

Over recent years the lack of rain and restrictions on the use of water has been severe on our garden plants. However, there have been few, if any, losses among our local plants.

The soils on this end of the Mornington Peninsula are composed of dry calcareous sand. The natural vegetation is therefore highly lime tolerant and has adapted to withstand low levels of moisture and the harsh coastal environment.   The Nepean Conservation Group therefore recommends that when we have a break in the weather, planting of our local plants be carried out.

We suggest these:

TREES

Moonah, Drooping She-Oak, Coast Banksia, Sweet Bursaria, Coastal Tea-tree.

 

SHRUBS

Coast Beard-heath, Thyme Rice Flower, Coast Pomaderris, Sea Box, Common Correa, White Correa, Sticky Daisy-bush, Peninsula Daisy-bush.

 

TUFTED PLANTS

Small Flower Flax Lily, Tussock Grass.

 

SCRAMBLER

Seaberry Saltbush

 

SMALL PLANTS AND GROUND COVERS

Silky Guinea Flower, Running Postman, Bower Spinach, Karkalla

 

For more information about these plants see our pamphlet: Guide to Indigenous Plants and Problem Weeds of the Nepean Peninsula. Note this is a large file and it requires the free Adobe Acrobat reader which can be downloaded from the following site http://pack.google.com/intl/en/product_info.html?ar

Most of our local nurseries stock some of these plants, however if you would like our guidance in this respect, or have any other queries please phone (03) 5984 1953 or (03) 5982 1727.

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Marine Parks

The Point Nepean component

The Point Nepean component of the Marine National Park extends around Point Nepean on the eastern side of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. This component contains extensive shallow reefs up to seven metres in depth covered in kelp and supports a variety of marine life including Victoria’s marine state emblem the Weedy Seadragon, seahorses, cuttlefish and numerous algal and invertebrate species.

The Portsea Hole component

Portsea hole is a depression within the bed of the old Yarra River that has flowed through this area during periods of glaciation and lower sea levels. The area is popular with divers and reaches depths of up to 30 metres. Portsea Hole acts as a shelter for a variety of fish and other reef species and the stratification of marine life on the wall provides special qualities as a dive site. It is one of the most popular deeper recreational dive sites in the bay.

The Popes Eye component

The Popes Eye component of the Marine National Park is located approximately 5 km north east of Portsea. Popes Eye is an artificial environment made of bluestone boulders that have been laid in a semi-circular ring which rise approximately 2.5 metres above the surface at low tide. Originally intended to become one of the fortresses guarding the entrance to Port Phillip but never completed, this structure provides a safe anchorage for pleasure craft and the substrate for a rich community of animals and plants that attach to the rocks and associated fish fauna. Inside the ring water depth is only around 1.5m but outside the water drops to a depth around 10m.

On the tops of the rocks are extensive beds of brown kelps including both Giant Kelp and also Leathery Kelp. These species create a forest like environment. Beneath the kelp a vast array of colourful encrusting algae and sedentary organisms such as molluscs of many types, seastars, feather stars, sea urchins, sponges, sea squirts and soft corals adorn the rocks, making it in some respects, an artificial microcosm of the Heads reef environment.

The site is an important breeding site for Australasian Gannets which nest on the platform and rocks above the water, one of the few known sites where Gannets breed on a human made structure in the world. Australian Fur Seals are often seen in the area. Because of its unique shape and protection from tidal currents Popes Eye is one of the most accessible snorkelling and dive sites in the Bay with many people learning to SCUBA dive having this site as there first open water dive. Popes Eye has also been the only fully protected marine environment within Port Philip for the last twenty years and as a consequence there are large numbers of animals present, particularly fish.

Fire Protection

40 people attended a Community Fire Information event at the Sorrento Community Centre on Saturday 22nd October from 11 am – 1pm. Information stalls were held by the Nepean Conservation Group, the Nepean Historical Society, SPIFFA (Southern Peninsula Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association), the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and the CFA.

The Shire provided a free BBQ lunch for all participants.   Ursula de Jong, President of the NCG welcomed those present and opened the formal meeting. Ursula explained the reason for holding this meeting prior to the commencement of the fire season: it gave the community time to consider the local environment in a considered way, in order to reduce the fire risk and NOT destroy the ecology. The vegetation on the Nepean Peninsula is integral to the values of place, and so it is critical that we all understand the vegetation and its predictive behaviour should we be threatened by fire. None of the agencies, nor the few volunteers of the Friends Groups could undertake the task of clearing all weeds and undergrowth on the Peninsula – it is a task that requires a whole of community response.

WAR ON WEEDS – progress!

From Nepean Conservation News September 2006

Allan Main reports that the Keith Turnbull Research Institute at Frankston has been conducting trials for the biological control of Bridal Creeper – Asparagus asparagoides. (Smilax) with some success. The leaf hopper, Zygina sp. has been released at selected areas since 1999, the rust fungus, Puccinia myrsiphilli since 2000, and the leaf beetle, Crioceris sp., since 2002. The rust has really taken hold. The hoppers (bred and released by local primary school children) have had more restricted success, evidently where local conditions suit it. It is still too early to judge the success of the beetles for control.

Allan adds “members may not realize that this is a widespread problem from Victoria to Western Australia. For instance it is particularly bad on Kangaroo Island, and is a menace to citrus orchards in the Murray irrigation area. That is why the work is being funded by the CSIRO, Weeds CRC, the Natural Heritage Trust, and the Environment Conservation Council. The best method for homeowners to use is the repeated spraying with herbicide for years. A great deal of information is available on the web site”. http://www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/bridalcreeper

Members are warned to be cautious using glyphosate i.e Roundup-type herbicides, use according to directions, cover yourself up well, and apply carefully as spray drift can kill adjacent vegetation. Glyphosate should not be used near waterways, and possibly does not break down properly in our sandy soils. Organic Interceptor, a herbicide based on pine oil, works on young smilax at 20:80 dilution Visit website : www.organicinterceptor.com.au

Parks Victoria Environment Ranger, Sue Mahoney confirms that rust has taken off since it release at Koonya Beach and Ivanhoe Street, Sorrento, and commented, “.. wind-dispersed (and possibly carried by foxes), it damages Bridal Creeper by reducing the photosynthetic surface of the leaf and by tricking the plant into diverting energy from tuber reserves for the Rust’s use, instead of being used for growth and flowering purposes. Biological controls do not eradicate weeds. They will reduce it but they will never eliminate them”.