Brunkerville Creek Project addressing Hunter hot-spot for Camphor laurel

The highly invasive weed tree Camphor laurel is being targeted in a new project focusing on caring for 4.5km of Brunkerville Creek in the lower Hunter.

The project is a partnership between Cessnock City Council, Hunter Local Land Services and local landholders and aims to assist landholders occupying the project area to reduce the amount of Camphor laurel present and improve the overall health of Brunkerville Creek.

Camphor laurel is an invasive tree originating in Asia that can grow very large with a long life span sometimes exceeding hundreds of years. It can dominate areas preventing other native species from regenerating and establishing and has a shallow root system making creek banks less stable and more prone to erosion.

Landholders attended a workshop last year to learn more about the project and this dominant weed tree which has established along the creek making Brunkerville Creek a recognised regional Camphor laurel ‘hot-spot’ in the Hunter. Camphor laurel has also started to spread across adjoining paddock areas from Brunkerville Creek.

Large, extensive infestations of Camphor laurel are evident both north and south of the Hunter Region making any established localised Camphor laurel population ‘hot-spots’ in the Hunter of concern.

Camphor laurel treatment work is being undertaken both on council and private land and is being coordinated by Cessnock Council biosecurity weeds officers.

“We have successfully treated around 25 Camphor laurel trees on council land with the majority of trees being removed due to safety concerns due to their proximity to roads, including Leggetts Drive,” Barry Shepherd, Cessnock Council Weeds Coordinator said. “We have also completed some initial treatments across three private properties so far.”

A new method of treating Camphor laurel is also being trialled as part of the project which involves inserting a herbicide capsule into the base of the trees. “We have trial-treated 15 trees along the creek using this new method, but it is early days yet to determine the full effect on trees of different ages and sizes.”

Another component of the project is to re-establish more native species along Brunkerville Creek to provide better bank stability. The native sedge Lomandra longifolia commonly known as Mat Rush and renowned for its ability to stabilise river and creek banks susceptible to erosion will be used together with other native species local to the area.

Anyone wanting further details about the Brunkerville Creek Project, can contact Hunter LLS Senior Land Services Officer, Lorna Adlem on 0437 967 311 or by email: Lorna.Adlem@lls.nsw.gov.au

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