It was too hot from December to March to do any slashing of the scrub without creating a fire hazard.
The scrub, commonly called Chinese bush is self seeded and is a fire hazard even when it is wet and green.
It seeds prolifically, and just one plant can produce over a million seeds in a season.
What it does tell us; is that the soil here has either been overgrazed in the past or is depleted in nutrients.
One method of controlling the bush is to overplant the area once it is slashed with a green crop, such as clover – which will smother the emerging seedlings and provide green manure for the soil.
The difficulty in removing this scrub, is that there are also young saplings of gum trees and a couple of varieties of wattle, including Golden Wattle to avoid.
Poison is not an option as we want to develop the property as organically as possible. What has been made apparent, now that the scrub has gone, are the contours of the property. It slopes gently down to the centre of the property, revealing the natural flow of water that feeds the two dams.
Plans for the future include developing much of the area using Permaculture principles.
Another problem is Guildford Grass or Onion Grass and this is prolific in the area of the labyrinth.
Single blades of grass that come up from a bulb and toxic to stock in large quantities.
Not even the kangaroos seem to have a taste for this.
Again, chemical removal is not really an option as it will leave residual poison in the ground for several seasons. Apparently use of a rotary hoe on a regular basis helps to keep it in check and reduce the incidence of re-infestation.
At present, I’m in the process of removing the top layer of soil, with the intention of getting rid of weeds so that I can put a topping on the path.
However the Onion Grass is very resilient and just bends with the shovel, so after reading the agricultural notes about it, am thinking of using a small tilling machine in the area.
This will most likely save time and my back!
In the meantime, work continues and mapping the progress with photos makes for a welcome break from digging.
We want to observe a full year of seasons before commencing any building projects. The first project is to restore the soil and then we can start to plan what plants to put in and where.
Already I am growing some oak seedlings and whilst the trees would not be used or harvested in my lifetime, future generations will have access to them.