Home' Smart Farmer : March 2012 Contents March 2012
IKE many small properties in
the central Mount Lofty
Ranges, steep hills, invasive
woody weeds and wet winters often
daunt inexperienced landholders.
But this is not the case with the 5-
hectare Carey Gully property
bought by Mark Machin and Ali
Elder four years ago.
Most of the property is stringy-
bark (Eucalyptus obliqua) woodland
which was badly degraded with
blackberry, broom and other weeds.
Blackberry was so thick that much
of the property was inaccessible, and
while some of the broom had been
sprayed, individual bushes were so
large that some major clearance
work was necessary.
One of the first things Mark did
was to enrol in a Rural Land
Management course run by the
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges
Natural Resources Management
Board which raised awareness of
land management issues and pro-
vided advice on property planning.
Mark and Ali work full time off the
property so they adopted a strategic
approach to land rehabilitation.
With help from the Board, they
developed a property management
plan and divided the property into
project areas -- some according to
land class -- and assigned tasks and
Spraying large, mature plants can
be effective weed control but this
technique uses large volumes of
On the other hand, slashing first
and then applying herbicides to the
regrowth reduces the amount of
This principle applies equally to
burning. Where 'cut and swab' is
used, native plants are safe from
heavy chemical dosages.
Special care needs to be taken to
avoid spraying chemicals on or over
water since they can be harmful to
Landholders should always follow
label instructions when applying
Revegetating the top grazing pad-
docks at the property meant broom
plants had to be removed along with
A herbicide was selectively
sprayed to control woody weeds,
and once cleared, tubestock was
planted, with significant establish-
Burning was used as an alternative
approach to control thick blackber-
ry and broom above the dam.
This caused a high percentage of
broom seed to germinate. A herbi-
cide was then applied to a dense car-
pet of weed, reducing the amount of
seed available for future germina-
The dam wall and the area below
was impenetrable with old broom
The site was slashed to ground
level and re-growth encouraged.
Spraying this re-growth proved
The main woodland area had the
thickest stand of blackberry and
broom. But native plants were also
widespread in this area so broad-
scale herbicide spraying was not an
option and individual blackberry
plants were cut and swabbed.
A few isolated mature pine trees
were growing in the woodland. It
was decided to ringbark these.
Mark and Ali have done a lot
amount in the short time they have
owned the property, and it is a fine
example of what can be achieved
with careful planning and research.
• Photos by Mark Machin.
• Need to know more?
Eastwood: 08 8273 9100,
Gawler: 08 8523 7700
Lobethal: 08 8389 5900
Willunga: 08 8550 3400
'Cut and swab' approach
to land rehabilitation
restores paddock quality
Well-established trees at the same site.
Dense blackberry and broom are slashed.
Most property is stringybark
Spraying near water must be
Broad-scale herbicide application
not an option
No need to drain or rebuild
Cost effective and easy to apply
Can be applied to full or partially full dams
Building a Dam
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