From left, Wilson Creek Huonbrook Landcare secretary Julie Gardner and president Barbara Stewart hold the certificate announcing the grant.
From left, Wilson Creek Huonbrook Landcare secretary Julie Gardner and president Barbara Stewart hold the certificate announcing the grant.

Grant funds three-year bid to wipe out coral tree pest

WILSON Creek Huonbrook Landcare group will use a $99,800 grant to fund a three-year quest to eradicate coral trees from the upper reaches of the Wilsons.

"We are very pleased, we have been trying to get some funding for a long time," Barbara Stewart, president of the Wilson Creek Huonbrook Landcare group said.

Coral trees are an introduced pest species that don't disperse seeds, but can sprout wherever a branch or limb of a tree happens to settle on the ground.

Typically, they spread in times of high rainfall when they float down rivers to new territory.

But once a colony of trees has been removed from an area it won't be subject to reinfestation, unless someone brings the plant in, Ms Stewart said.

"This makes eradication cost effective," she said.

Coral trees grow at least 15 metres tall and can block and disrupt creek systems. In the upper reaches of the Wilsons Creek they also crowd out native, sub-tropical species with high values, she said.

The funding will be used to employ a plant regeneration specialist, who will identify each tree and inject a low-toxic herbicide. "The process was cheap, effective and well-tested," she said.

Cutting down the tress was problematic because it just gave the plant another opportunity to grow she said.

The Wilson Creek Huonbrook Landcare group has been going for over 20 years and has roughly 50 core members. There will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers, who will help open access to the trees, and monitor downstream rivers for any new growth.

The eradication would start at the headwaters of the Wilson and nearby creeks, and work downstream to methodically remove the tree, hopefully, from the entire region.


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