Some places look like they’ve been stripped bare and turned into a desert!
One of the plant species that we’ve noticed has been knocked about is the dreaded Cat’s Claw Creeper. As part of the Better Burnett project of 2007-08, BCCA placed the tinged bug biocontrol agent along the banks of the Boyne River less than 20km upstream of where the Boyne meets the Burnett near Mundubbera. This month we decided it would be a good idea to go and inspect the damage to the infrastructure that was initially set up to allow the population of tinged bugs to grow.
The ‘tent’ we built was only basic, using steel pickets driven into the sandy river bank and shadecloth (from the hardware store) to protect and enclose the area and while the population became established.
The results of the release were something less than desirable, as the dry conditions did not allow the growing population to succeed. The favourable wetter conditions that we have experienced this summer would encourage any bugs that survived; however, the strong floodwaters appear to have knocked back a lot of the weed, providing no leaves for the bugs to consume. Our ‘tent’, while under flood for some months, remains in the same location, only knocked over. The equipment will be reused by the landholder.
There is still Cats Claw attached to trees, and so not doubt that it will grow back again, but perhaps this time we can manage it while it is still weak. For chemical control of the weed, use gylphosate, but if you’d like to try using the biocontrol agent, which slows the growth and vigour of the plant, contact Gympie Landcare on 5483 8866 for bugs that you can release on your property. More information on the weed can be found here.
Left: Biocontrol agent release site in 2008