Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Australia Day

We have not been idle the last few weeks, despite the lack of blog entries! On the left you can see Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers enjoying a get-together... without having to work! In late November about 40 members shared a sundowner barbecue picnic on the Main Lawn of the Cottesloe Civic Centre. We celebrated all we had achieved in 2008 and committed to lots more good work in 2009! Our primary goal for 2009 is to work even more closely with Town of Cottesloe on the Year One recommendations from the 5 year Natural Areas Management Plan.

This photo was taken on 3rd December during a bus tour organised by Kate Sputore and Craig Wilson, the North and South Metro Coastcare officers. It was very interesting to visit project sites of other Coastcare groups in Cambridge, Stirling and Joondalup, to hear about their successes and failures and to share our own stories and questions. We all enjoyed a picnic lunch together at Trigg after the tour. Thanks to everyone involved.



During the summer small groups of volunteers continue to hand water some of the seedlings we planted during the autumn and winter of 2008. Another time consuming summer job is seed collecting and seed cleaning. The seed required to grow plants ready for planting in 2009 is already sewn and the remainder of the seed will be stored in the seed store at APACE nursery in Fremantle, for us to use in 2010 and beyond.



For some years CCA has been keen to grow some more Quandongs (Santalum acuminatum) in Cottesloe. There is a very small remnant population in our suburb and locals have told us that they flower but have not fruited for quite some time. Apparently the semi-parasitic Quandong produces more fruit when the trees grow from seed whereas locally they seem to commonly grow from suckers. Cambridge Coastcarers tell me that they have very little fruit on their trees. Some people say it may be lack of pollinators. Emus eat the fruit whole and void the stone, dispersing the seeds, but I guess it is some time since an Emu wandered through Cottesloe.
If root suckers are damaged, here for example by verge mowing and parked cars, new plants can spring up using the suckering root to provide nutrition for some years. White stemmed wattle and Sheoaks grow close- by with thick couch grass and all of these species can be parasitised by Quandongs. We attached plant guards to protect many young plants. We carefully removed a few suckering plants (with couch grass roots intertwined) when they were right on the edge of the road and would not have survived. These tiny plants on the edge of the verge were 30 -40 feet from the nearest Quandong . We used a hormone gel, native potting mix and clean sand plus a small amount of appropriate slow release fertiliser, topped with some Sheoak and Quandong mulch from the site.... and crossed our fingers! We understand that our chances of success are very small - but we will keep you posted!
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Postscript: In June 2009-  6 out of 8 potted quandong suckers still alive. 4 had reasonable roots which had grown during the previous 6 months. Jan and I planted the 6 tiny quandongs - near cyclops wattles in Grant Marine Park in a secondary dune.

Postcript: December 2009. We have watered the quandongs in Grant Marine Park every few weeks but 4 have died, 2 are surviving. We wonder if they will make it through the summer.



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