By Christopher Brogan Director and Senior Ecologist Earth Repair & Restoration Pty Ltd
In May 2014 Earth Repair & Restoration Pty Ltd were commissioned by Bankstown Council to eradicate the invasive perennial grass Tussock paspalum from a small bushland remnant in Maluga Reserve Birrong. Tussock paspalum grows to 2 meters in height and forms dense clumps which outcompete and displace native grasses and forbs. In addition Asparagus fern and African love grass were also targeted.
Bushland at Maluga Reserve has been classified by the New South Wales (NSW) Office of Environment and Heritage as Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest which is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act). This vegetation community was once common in the Auburn, Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Parramatta and Strathfield LGA’s however it has largely been cleared and is now restricted to a small number of disjunct remnants.
Works during the contract period included high volume herbicide spraying with Glyphosate using a 4WD mounted 600 Litre QuikSpray Unit in combination with manual removal. Not wanting to risk off target damage to native flora the team and I conducted an emu parade prior to carrying out spraying.
It was with great excitement that we discovered 3 small Cycads concealed by African love grass. A forth plant was found growing amongst a planted Dianella caerulea. I consulted Colin Gibson founding member of the Bankstown Bushland Society who confirmed that they were Macrozamia spiralis a locally rare cycad restricted to soils derived from Wianamatta Shale.
Maluga Reserve also represents significant habitat for one of the last remaining naturally occurring populations of Eucalyptus sideroxylon in the Bankstown. While Eucalyptus sideroxylon has been planted extensively at the reserve these trees were probably grown from seed collected from around Pilliga and have a blacker trunk and more erect habit. Eucalyptus microcorys has also been extensively planted at the reserve and these trees are out-competing the native ground layer and should be progressively removed along with non provenanced Eucalyptus sideroxylon.