VOLUNTEERS from Sunshine Reserve conservation group and Balcombe Estuary Reserves Group have been spreading the word about the need to control weeds.
The groups set up a Saturday morning stall at Mount Martha shops to show what weeds can look like and talk to passersby about the dangers they pose to the peninsula’s bushland areas.
With an estimated 30 per cent of the Mornington Peninsula’s indigenous vegetation remaining, privately owned bushland, national parks and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council-owned parks and reserves are vital to the survival of native flora and fauna.
One wildlife corridor is Sunshine Reserve in Mount Martha, which faces challenges from many fronts, including residential and commercial development, agriculture, pollution, climate change and weeds.
Volunteer Angie Fly said people unknowingly planted encroaching or environmental weeds in their gardens, not realising the impact on nearby bushland. The weeds spread into reserves and took over, stymying growth of the remnant vegetation and impacting the ecosystem.
“The peninsula is unfortunately riddled with these weeds. We’ve all seen the purple flowers of milkwort or polygala as we drive along the coast. Similarly, the yellow flowers of boneseed (monilifera) pop up along waterways and among indigenous vegetation throughout spring,” she said. “Agapanthus line our driveways, vinca cover our open spaces, and pittosporum grow vigorously in our gardens with their evergreen leaves. These plants are hardy and grow well in the sandy soil of our backyards, but they flourish in our special reserves too.”
The BERG committee and volunteers at Sunshine Reserve spend hours at working bees pulling out weeds and replanting indigenous species to shift the ecosystem back into balance but is seeking more members to join them and other friends groups across the peninsula.
“Prevention is, however, better than the cure. All of us can chip in by considering the plants in our gardens and, where possible, removing the weeds that are spreading into our community reserves and wildlife corridors,” Fly said.
Residents who live in a property that backs onto a reserve can check out the list of weeds in the Mornington Peninsula Environmental and Noxious Weeds Guide, available on the Mornington Peninsula Shire website.
Anyone who spots weeds can pull them out and replace with hardy, non-spreading indigenous plants.
For further information about Sunshine Reserve visit sunshinereserve.com.au