Seeds are spread in the droppings of birds, foxes and other animals. People can even spread seeds on their socks and clothing. New plants are formed when segments or fruit drop from the plant. So weeds can spread in many different ways!
We had to wear vests and masks so we didn't get any pollen or dust in our mouths and noses.
On Thursday 31st March our class walked to Rio Vista Park and we were met by Cath Hall, the local Biodiversity Officer. She was much like an expert and told us about the different kinds of weeds and how they spread. We had to wear bright coloured vests, gloves, masks on our faces and grab a bag for the weeds. Some of the weeds took two people to pull them out, others were easy to pull out. We also found lots of different creatures. That was like an adventure!
So the next week our Pest Busters Team went off to RanfurlyPark [head towards Merbein and you will find it!]. I was in a team of four with Miss Gates. We found lots of great, cool weeds like fat hen. First of all we walked through the Ranfurly Park. There were lots of weeds and the prickly pear was huge! There were lots of same type of spiders. The webs were so amazing; the spiders would have been working on them for ages! This was like another adventure and we saw so many different things.
5/6B finding lots of weeds. Many of them had grown because of the floods.
We have been on two excursions to investigate weeds. At Rio Vista Park we removed the weeds so they would stop strangling the natives. It was amazing that the weeds were nearly as tall as our teacher! We had lots of fun – we had 8 adults with us so there were plenty of people to ask questions.
Tidying up at Rio Vista Park
Pest Busters check for pests! Our class is the Pest Busters Team for 2011. We first of all went ot Rio Vista Park to pull out weeds. They have grown like crazy since the floods and some of the weeds were taller than any of us even taller than some of the teachers. We were lucky the ground was moist so we could mostly get the weeds out easily. Some of them needed two people to pull them out. We had some huge piles and the area did look neater. We could have spent a whole day there and that would have made a big difference.
Plant: Prickly Pear Form: Shrub Flower: Yellow
The prickly pear is a distinctive plant. It has a yellow flower on the leaves. On parts of the plant there is a small fruit. Seeds on the cactus are pale brown and up to 5mm long.
The big cactus is around 1m high. Rarely reaching the height of 2m. The true leaves on it shed early and the stem is often called a leaf after it has been shed.
The fruit is egg shaped. And turns purple when they are edible and you’re able to eat them.
The flowers on the cactus are yellow and can get up to the size of 6mm long. It has a lot of small bristles on it as well.
The prickly pear is a pest because, it spreads. Once it starts to spread it doesn’t stop spreading. It is also a pest because it has spikes on it and when you touch them they hurt you. If you break it in half you can have a look at all the stuff inside. You can’t eat it because it’s poisonous.
References: Landcare Notes:
On Thursday last week our class went to Lake Ranfurly, Ranfurly Park and Johnson’s Bend. We went there to look at things like weeds and animal droppings. We travelled by bus to lake Ranfurly. We walked down a big driveway full of weeds. When we got to the end of the driveway we found fungi: a puff ball mushroom. We kicked it and green stuff came out of it. There were sheep bones. Mrs Zeppel found a shedded snake skin. [A snake sheds it’s skin so it can grow] Zane took us over to some snake and rabbit holes. We got back on the bus and went and went to park. At Ranfurly Park we found a couple of prickly pears and a mistletoe. Mrs Zeppel stood under the mistletoe. We also found termites. Then we went to Johnson’s bend and saw Max. Max is Hayden’s dog. While we were at Johnson’s Bend we found bollards made from recycled milk bottles. The bollards were put up to stop the cars from going through. I found rubbish and peoples belongings. We got back on the bus and went to school. I had a good time.
- Human activities and introduced animals, such as rabbits, cattle, horses, goats and pigs, can create good conditions for weed growth and contribute to weed spread.
- Many prickly weeds at Rio Vista
Invasive weeds are among the most serious threats to Australia’s natural environment and primary production industries. Weeds have major economic, environmental and social impacts in Australia, causing damage to natural landscapes, agricultural lands, waterways and coastal areas.
What is a weed? How are they identified?
We had fun at Rio Vista Park on Thursday 15th April. We learnt lots about weeds and pests. There is a diffference between weeds and pests: weeds are plants that you don’t want growing and pests are aniamals, plants and humans that have a bad effect on the environment. There were many different types of weeds and native plants. We had lots of fun and learnt lots.
Thanks to Cath Hall for helping us to understand more about weeds and pests.
Molly, Sophie, Georgia C, Kelsey, Peta and Georgia T.
We went to Ranfurly Park and after we put on our bright, yellow, security jackets, Catherine our leader from Mildura Rural City Council took us for walk in the bush to see what we could observe.
Prickly Pear is a weed that is very prickly and it has bright coloured fruit. The prickly pear is called that as it’s fruit is shaped like a pear. The leaves have spines on the outside of the leaf.
Paterson’s Curse has a purple flower that looks very like a normal flower, but it is a weed !. It is an introduced weed from the Mediterranean.
WEEVIL FOR BIOLOGICAL CONTROL
Part of the weevil life cyle is a grub and they eat the centre of Paterson’s Curse until is it destroyed.
HOW DO WEEDS SPREAD?
The seeds are spread by foxes, droppings of birds and other animals in their fur. Also if there is a prickly pear don’t let it spread because it could take over your back or front yard.
WAS IT SUCCESSFUL KILLING THE PRICKLY PEAR WITH THE CACTOBLASTIS MOTH?
The cactoblastis moth has been the most successful in Queensland and NSW where it is warm. The cactoblastis moth eats inside the prickly pear and eats it until it is a rotting mass.
At Ranfurly Park there is a ‘wall’ of prickly pear and they are not sure what they should use to get rid of it.