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Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:54 am
by Shirley Henderson
Hi Nick, thats great that you have a tree like that. The Melia around here that pops up everywhere usually does so in mulch. I bet if you put some seed into small mulch piles they also might take off. Why not give it a try and let us know.

Melia and the caterpillars eating it.

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:29 am
by Shirley Henderson
Just out of interest I thought I would post this note about the caterpillars that eat the Melia leaves. This was talked about earlier. I found some of these at the base of my wattle trees and when a friend of mine saw them he said get rid of them, kill them. They get into everything, they will strip your plants of leaves and get in the house even the airconditioner. As I do not usually kill the insects in my garden and it is pesticide free I decided to watch them. I do not have any Melia groweing in my garden and wondered what they would eat. They do walk off in a procession (mostly at night) and find food. They did what I thought they might do. They went to close by decidous tree (Chinese Tallow) and started to eat those leaves. This tree is getting ready to turn red and drop leaves anyway. Have not touched any of the other trees or shrubs nearby. I know I could have squashed them but my curious mind got the better of me. So they went on their way unharmed by me and leaving their droppings behind to fertilise my garden. (by the way none came in the house, which is very close)

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:22 pm
by Ian James
Well done Shirley.

What a good result, maybe you should squash your friend instead. :)

Fast growing plants

Posted: Mon May 04, 2009 6:00 pm
by Shirley Henderson
Thanks Ian. Your a laugh!
I would like to mention another plant that is fast growing and spreads well. It is often considered a pest! ( no surprise) as it is one of those Australian Natives under scrutiny. Some say it is not Australian but Asian and came down through the top end of tropical Australia and is working it's way down the East coast. Others say it is well accepted as an Australian Native. Now we all know now that it does not matter. It is being considered a pest in the wrong place but loves to spread where there is moisture. Pennisetum alopecuroides or commonly known as Swamp Foxtail. It looks great, has many seed heads and does love to grow where it is moist. I have been told do not plant this near water or it will take over the area. Well that is exactly the qualities that NSF requires, so this could be a good one. I have also been told it will not grow where it is dry. (true or untrue I am not sure yet.) There are other introduced species of Pennisetum that will grow in high and dry places and from what I have observed myself they are usually another species (not the native allopecuroides) when I have a close inspection. ( only identifiable by the seed and an eyeglass or microscope). The thing is if they like moisture and they grow in moist places then they can also be used to read on the land where moisture might be. They spread well and they can provide that kind of slowing of a water way or retaining moisture when the water has passed over as they are not really a water plant but a marginal. I think it is a great plant, provides plenty of seed, feeds the birds, probably is edible too. Provides lots of growth so organic matter for the soil. Does anyone else have any input about this plant?

Posted: Tue May 05, 2009 7:06 pm
by Ian James
I have been told do not plant this near water or it will take over the area. Well that is exactly the qualities that NSF requires, so this could be a good one.
Interesting Shirley isn't it, that statement?

Do you ever wonder what would happen if one gathered a number of these so called pest plants that should not be planted near water since they will take over the entire ecosystem and then introduced them simultaniously.

Well, they couldn't all take over the whole area could they?

Maybe you would create a jungle.... or a rain forrest?

I'd like to see that.

great idea

Posted: Wed May 06, 2009 10:16 am
by Shirley Henderson
I wish someone would!

Weeping Willow

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:09 pm
by Shirley Henderson
Something I did not realise before is that Salix babylonica or Weeping Willow is not considered a weed in Australia. It is not on the WONS list and is not even on the weeds list and it can be bought and planted legally. I have checked this out and it seems there is a Willow you can use after all.

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:35 pm
by ColinJEly
Hello Shirley
Well blow me down! Apart from a few plantations of Salix alba var caerulea for cricket bats, I would have thought you would be hard pressed to find anything except Salix babylonica?

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:12 pm
by damianoconnell
Melia can be found growing as a street tree in Maree so it handles hot and dry conditions.There are variants of this species in Persia as well. The thing that willows and poplars do so well is handle the negative pressure of incised creek/river beds and can be inundated with sediment and trash and grow new roots anywhere up the stem. Can white cedars do that?

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:36 pm
by duane

That's 100% guess is Melia's could but I have absolutely NO experience to say they DO!!!

roots up stems

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:33 am
by Shirley Henderson
I would suggest that most trees would have that ability. I learned that where there was once a leaf, a branch or a root can grow from that point. No doupt that Willows and Poplars are great at that but other trees should not be discounted. Long Stem Planting has proven this point. I am moving soon to a small property with a creek and I will be planting at least 3 willows to kick things off.

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:10 am
by duane

I friend reported recently two massive white cedars growing in the riparian zone in the mid coast of nsw.

I think that the australian = to willows, were reeds. They can grow and operate in the -ve pressure zone.

I have yet to see any native growing IN the streams. But that doesn't mean someone may have.

Posted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:38 am
by gbell
Can you plant willows as long stem plantings?

Willows as Long Stem Plantings

Posted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:41 pm
by Shirley Henderson
yes. In any riparian zone you could plant 1m stems 90cm deep and they would take off. Best to do in the Autum as weather is starting to cool. Otherwise start in tubestock pots. Grow them to 1m over say 6-12 months and then plant 1m deep. Do you know how to prepare long stem plantings that way?

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:39 am
by duane
Extract from ABC Rural News ... 734798.htm

Stop maligning willows

Millions of dollars are being spent removing willows from rivers in south east Australia.
That includes; the Yass River, Queanbeyan, Boorowa, Molonglo and Murrumbidgee Rivers, and also on Lake Burley Griffin.

That's millions wasted, according to the Natural Sequence Farming movement. It's backed by scientist Dr Michael Wilson.

He and his students studied willows at University of Ballarat from the mid 1990s for 10 years.

Dr Michael Wilson is now head of the Sustainable Rivers Audit with the Murray Darling Basin Authority, responsible for river health in the basin.

Willow litter is said to deoxygenate water, killing invertebrates.

But Dr Wilson says native trees drop leaves at just the same rate into the river during Summer, which coincides with low flows.

This causes what's known as black water events and is well documented for native leaf litter as well.

The willow litter is very easily digested, drawing down oxygen, but that coincides with the Autumn break, which can flush the organic matter in the rivers and creeks. In fact one of his phD students found the willow leaf litter is good for invertebrate life.

Willows can choke rivers, "colonise and obstruct waterways, diverting flows into banks ... and cause erosion and sedimentation," (Cremer. 1995)

Dr Wilson argues that's good for rivers and mimicks the original chain of ponds.

"The vegetation was so thick, the early descriptions by gold miners, those first into the valleys, it would take them days to get to the river, and it would take them weeks and weeks to work their way up metre by metre through tea tree, and swamps and thickets. The river would be ambiguous about where it flowed ...

"Gradually they'd force themselves to get to a nice channel that was deeply incised and then they could work those sediments over and over again," he says.

"So everywhere there's ever been any gold rush work or land clearing for grazing, it's followed this pattern of deep cutting and incision of our rivers, with tens of thousands of kilometres are are deeply cut channels."

He believes the money would have been better spent on revegetating the millions of kilometres of rivers in Australia

He says using clearing to rehabilitate rivers, is like taking a scalpel to an open wound.

One study found the fish were spending nearly 80 per cent of their time in willow lined banks... in hollows and tunnels in river banks caused by willow roots.

Another of his phD students found the root mats create 'leaky type weirs' created all the pool ripple sequences, which are desirable in the river systems.

He says the willows are there, the natives have been removed.

"Willows have net beneficial function....We might have a million kilometres of unvegetated river length. So if we want to spend $10 million, I'd spend that revegetating river reaches, not $10million clearing river reaches."