Invasive coral trees are growing right out of the sand at Ballina.  Photo Contributed
Invasive coral trees are growing right out of the sand at Ballina. Photo Contributed Contributed

Weed control reminder as coral trees grow on the coast

WHEN Lismore City Council's Kate Steel recently went for a walk at Ballina Spit, she couldn't help but notice that invasive coral trees were growing right out of the sand.

One of the impacts of flooding in the upper Richmond catchment is that logs break off coral trees and wash down in the floodwaters to the coast.

Ms Steel, Council's Rural Landholder Initiative Extension Officer, said it was a timely reminder to all landholders that what we do upstream affects everything downstream.

"It's pretty stark when you see logs of these trees, in pure beach sand, exposed to the elements and re-sprouting. Not just shooting new branches, but flowering directly off the log," she said.

 

Invasive coral trees are growing right out of the sand at Ballina.  Photo Contributed
Invasive coral trees are growing right out of the sand at Ballina. Photo Contributed Contributed

"The spit at Ballina is a dynamic environment, but these trees are likely to take hold over the next few years as they are extremely resilient and tenacious. This really highlights the impact of uncontrolled upstream environmental weeds on the downstream environment. It is obvious these stumps and roots have come from the Lismore Local Government Area."

Ms Steel said that three landholders taking part in the Rural Landholder Initiative, who have each received $5000 for on-ground works, are currently removing coral trees on their properties, which back onto the Richmond and Wilsons River at Monaltrie and Coraki.

They are replacing them with native species in a staged approach to limit erosion and sedimentation within the river.

The works will limit coral tree seeds and branches entering the river systems and provide riverbank stabilisation at the same time.

"One of the best things upstream farmers and landholders can do, is try to limit the spread of these trees, particularly along creeks and rivers," Ms Steel said.

"There's no denying the interconnectedness of the whole catchment, and part of the Rural Landholder Initiative is educating landholders about good individual land management practices, as these can have widespread environment ramifications."

Coral trees are a class four declared weed and as such landholders are encouraged to treat all plants on their property. No approval for treatment or removal is required, although a staged approach along riverbanks is encouraged.



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