Spring is here and so are some problematic weeds. The following tips are from Landcarers on how they manage gorse. Gorse is in flower so it’s a good time to survey and control in bushland areas because it’s so easy to spot. Gorse management varies greatly, depending on how much and where it occurs, but 3 steps are common to all cases:
Step 1. Plan
Step 2. Choose a technique
Step 3. Follow up
Step 1. Draw a simple sketch of the area that you want to address affected by gorse. There may be a few bushes clustered together and some outliers. Put these on a simple aerial view drawing and mark the height of the patches as well. Height categories could be: less than .10cm, 1 meter and higher than 1 meter. Start with the outliers, or plants that are on their own not part of the largest cluster of gorse. Include a long-term outlook in this planning stage, remembering that gorse seed can remain viable in the soil for 40 years or more. Your strategy will work best if you start with smaller areas, working from the best environmental values outwards. Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew, because realistic goals will result in achievable outcomes adn you will have to visit the site more than once.
Step 2. Choose the technique you will use to eradicate. For example, if one of your outlying bushes was half a meter tall and accessible because it is in an open paddock without many other trees you could use the cut and paint method, then remove the bush or pile up and let it break down in-situ. The cut and paint technique is suitable for Landcare volunteers without the Chemcert qualifications needed for herbicide spraying. The cut and paint method allows you to be highly selective without off-target loss, so it’s perfect for bushland infestations.
Cut the base of the bush and apply Glyphosate (available at ag suppliers) to the cut stump within 20 seconds using a dabber. This technique works well on large bushes and you’ll find the area clears quickly as you take down large bushes. Please not that this is labour intensive so maybe ask some friends or joina local lanndcare group for help. Also, large areas > 1 acre may be more easily controlled by a qualified weed contractor using broadscale spraying and/or machinery is also an option.
Step 3. Return to the patch every year to see if any new seedlings are popping up. This may require a bit of hand pulling but more often than not, if it is a large area follow up spraying may be required by a qualified weed contractor. Review your plan (Step1). Note that it may take years to get gorse under effective control but native plants and animals will be thanking you for generations.
NB: Use herbicides with care, reading all labels and seek professional advice on correct procedure.
For more information please see the CRC Weeding Guide to Gorse
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