Friday, September 26, 2008

english ivy – scourge of the hills

In a recent community chat session I held at the Belgrave Library, a Tecoma resident raised the issue of ivy growing up trees throughout the Dandenong Ranges. Her concern was for new residents who weren’t aware of the dangers ivy posed. I thought it was about time the Shire reinvigorated the awareness campaign around the dangers of ivy.

Ivy is one of the Shire’s number one weeds and The Dandenongs has ideal growing conditions for ivy to thrive. The spread of English Ivy throughout much of the Dandenongs, including large areas of Crown land and roadside reserves, poses a threat to biodiversity and to public safety.

Many of our magnificent Mountain Ash are threatened by English Ivy, which can undermine the tree’s structure resulting in large limbs failing or in some cases the entire tree toppling. Ivy eventually kills its support plant (mainly trees) by smothering, preventing bark shedding or excluding light and photosynthesis. It is the weight of the ivy that may cause the support plant to collapse.

There is no doubt that tackling the ivy problem in The Dandenongs requires a whole of community solution and we all have a part to play. As part of the awareness raising I am working with the Shire's environment department to produce a new fact sheet to assist residents. I also intend to highlight the issue through the local papers and council’s quarterly magazine Shirewide.

The ivy on this magnificent Mountain Grey Gum has been treated by cutting the woody stems of the ivy and applying a glysophate based herbicide. It's not only trees in the forests that have an ivy problem, this tree is located in a busy car park in Belgrave. Eradicating ivy helps to stop the spread of ivy across our region, whether it be in a national park or your back yard.

Nb: I hold a community chat session from 10:30am to 12:30pm on the first Wednesday of every month at the Belgrave Library.

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