Seed bombs

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margaret
margaret's picture
Seed bombs

I heard about seed bombs today and i am keen to reforest my whole suburb! i looked up grasses and saw a place to get seeds for Cumberland plain. Anyone got any ideas about trees or anything else? has anyone done this?

i intend to get rid of all  the barren misery around here lol

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Seed-Bomb/

http://www.cpseeds.com.au/species.php

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Margaret, Margaret, ……., that’s the kind of thing I would have done when I was 17, LOL.

Apart from the “vigilantly” aspect of it, there are several issues involved in seed bombing, as it is done without permission, and on properties owned by others, you will have to be prepared for prosecution , if caught, as it would be trespassing.

You have to give consideration to “What you put where and when”, as to not introduce invasive plants into native environment, you have to launch the bombs at the right time, etc.

Where would you like to throw them? The obvious places would be vacant blocks of land, right?  The plants would be wasted there, eventually someone would buy, build a house and slash everything. If you would throw them over people’s fences, would make no sense, wouldn’t stand a chance of growing, would be mowed and slashed. Any other ideas? I’m interested to hear them.

I believe talking to people, convincing them of the benefits of planting, campaigning, lobbying and getting people involved is the right way to go. Not always producing results very fast, but certainly satisfying when you are successful .

M-L

margaret
margaret's picture

ok i will have to think about it, i was thinking of throwing them from outside, so not actually trepassing? right? and yes there is a large vacant block around the corner as well as the local park and verges. I will have to do some reconnoitering, i reckon throw them everywhere!

Woko
Woko's picture

 I love your passion, Margaret, & the idea of an underground environmental freedom fighter causing the sprouting of thousands of native plants across a barren suburban landscape has a certain romantic appeal, I must admit. But Araminta makes some good points.

To be realistic, unless you bomb some relatively weed-free, open areas the survival rate of the seeds in the bombs would be very low. The seeds would have to compete with all the feral weeds & their seeds that usually infest areas you might wish to target. Then there's the problem of tree seeds possibly germinating under power lines or near sewage & other underground utilies, not to mention your risk of prosecution, as Araminta points out. It could get very messy for all concerned so there's probably not a lot to be said for an indiscriminate, non-targetted approach (apart from the romance of it, of course, & we all know about acting in haste & repenting at leisure).

Building on Araminta's ideas, I wonder if there's a particular piece of land, preferably council or state government-owned, which you could use as a starting point. If you were able to get permission from the owner to begin some weed control & planting (or even seed bomb throwing) you could then promote the nature development of the area as part of a wildlife corridor & encourage home owners to also be part of it by planting indigenous vegetation on their blocks. Is there a local newsletter which could be used to publicise your project? Encouraging local government to plant indigenous tree or shrub species in the streets could be part of this. I imagine that water costs in Sydney are soaring as they are in Adelaide so emphasising the water savings of indigenous vegetation is a good peg on which to hang promotion of wildlife corridor development.

Does your local government have an environmental officer? If so, she/he might be a good person to have a coffee with. He/she would probably know of existing people or groups tha might have similar ideas to yours.

Are there any schools in your area which have environmental education programmes? Contact the teacher(s) about involving students in the project. In SA students in some schools grow indigenous plants for various projects as part of their environmental education. School newsletters reach a wide readership so your project could attract people through this publicity channel. The spinoffs for families & the community, not to mention the environment, are potentially huge.

Keeping  a photographic record of the project's development is a great way of publicising what's happening. Photos can be posted in shopping centres, churches, council offices, community centres etc. as encouragement for people to become involved.

You might want to read Bringing Back the Bush by Joan Bradley & Bush Regeneration: Recovering Australian Landscapes by Robin Buchanan. These books might help you decide just where you want to focus your efforts as they emphasise the value of repairing degraded bushland. Perhaps there's an area like this in your neighbourhood which would be a good starting point. There may even be a group already working to repair local bushland & their work could be extended into adjacent areas through revegetation with indigenous species in streets & in front & backyards.  

How much time & energy do you have for all this? This is an important consideration & will determine at what level you want to operate. There's no point in taking on a huge project by yourself. Find out what groups are already operating (if any) near you & take advantage of their people power.  

 Be prepared for resistance from the usual rent-a-concrete landscape crowd but keep in mind they're usually there to provide hurdling practice. Slowly does it & ensure there are plenty of before & after photos - as you've already done with your backyard. This is a lengthy process &, sadly, highlights yet again, how it takes minutes for a bulldozer to knock it all down but decades, if not centuries, to replace some of it.

Qyn
Qyn's picture

Great advice, Woko.

Wherever I have lived, I have looked in the local paper/community noticeboards or on-line and have always found environmental groups such as Friends of Merri Creek, Southern Dandenongs Community Nursery, Friends of Rosebud Beach and Foreshore etc who have the same goals in mind but also the clout to influence govt (local or higher) for funding and approval. There are groups through landcare and many other sources. To be successful takes work and a co-ordinated approach and the more hands available the better. I applaud your idea Margaret but I would like that enthusiasm to be used for success. It is wonderful to see weedy areas turned in to habitat and know that you have helped create it. Best wishes in finding a niche for your ideals.

Alison
~~~~~~
"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Yes I agree with Woko and Qyn55 there are many good projects around. Landcare has plenty of work for you Margaret. They know where the barren miseries are that most need your kind attention.

margaret
margaret's picture

ok maybe i'm in fantasy land, however the people across the road are going to plant whatever i give them and the man next door, he doesn't care what i do with his yard. However it is a big stretch of kikuya so I'm not sure how to get rid of that without digging it all up. I think he would be happy to get rid of it because then he saves on paying for mowing.

And Woko I work at a school and we have Green Day yearly where we plant trees etc and I am involved in that soon. I was more interested in changing the look of my street which i consider very ugly.

Thank you all for your replies and your lengthy reply Woko :)

Araminta
Araminta's picture

You found your answer, the people across the road sound like a "great project", go for it girl!!

(at the same time you highlighted the problem with the seed bombing nicely, if I might say so? Don't want to sound harsh, but you noticed the weeds on the neighbour's property. There will be some hard work to be done. That's the main reason why seed bombing wouldn't work. As Woko pointed out, the weeds will overgrow the smaller plants and give them no chance. There is no easy way, at least none I know of, like thowing something over a fence.)

Good luck with your "greening the neighbour's place" project. Congratulations, I admire your enthusiasm. Find others to help.

M-L

Woko
Woko's picture

I've just remembered, Margaret. I've tried seed bombing (or broadcasting as I called it) in a rural area with mixed results. The species I bombed 3 places with was Drooping she-oak Allocasuarina verticillata.

The first was a paddock with a few horses & lots of weeds. Ironically, not one seed germinated (or if it did I didn't see it) but about 6 months after my bombing the horses were removed & kangaroo grass Themeda triandra germinated in large patches.

The second was a roadside infested with weeds. Again, not a sausage.

The third was a rocky & fairly weedy hillside on our place with only kangaroos for grazing. Success! Twelve trees grew & now there are five or their children growing merrily away.

The moral of the story for me is that I need to carefully select my target for bombing.

I agree (again!) with Araminta. If you have neighbours who are interested &/or amenable you may well have the foundation stones for your street-scaping. Can you work with them & others to influence council as to the species of tree or shrub they plant in your street?

As for your neighbour's kikuyu grass I've found a good dose of double strength glyphosate with follow up spraying later does the trick. I use the bio-active glyphosate because, it's claimed, it doesn't harm water ways & aquatic wildlife. Follow the instructions on the label. If you're not into spraying then there are steam treatments that can be used but I'm not familiar with those.

It seems to me you & your neighbours have the nucleus of something with great potential. On top of that you have your school's programme that you might be able to build on. Good luck & I look forward to the first photos!!

timmo
timmo's picture

Good on you Margaret, I've thought about suggesting the same to my neighbours, though they have children and may need the grassed areas more than I do. Some also have a reasonable amount of natives anyway, though you can always fit in just 1 more plant right?

Woko,

I don't think you need go to the extent of glyphosate and spraying myself, unless the yard is a particularly large area and it is being done all at once. Every time I expand my garden I just get in there with a spade and lift the top layer of turf. Admittedly, you then need to put it somewhere, but compost bins are good for that. That said, I probably wouldn't want to do that on my entire yard.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi Timmo, I guess digging it out is environmentally preferable to spraying but the problem with kikuyu is that there's always one small root or two left which then shoots & away it goes again. Digging out kikuyu is also hard yakka although it's a good way to keep fit. Whether spraying or digging, regular & frequent follow up is necessary in my experience.

I haven't heard if smothering kikuyu with black plastic is effective but it might be worth a try. It probably depends on how big an area Margaret's neighbour has to manage.

margaret
margaret's picture

I went to Cumberland State Forest Nursery and got a few indigenous plants for the neighbour's yard. I started digging, and it is hard work. I don't intend to dig up his whole yard but if I spray his grass, what then? he said will it be mud? Anyway I planted 2 trees, a scrub and 2 grasses. in a small section.

Anyway at the nursery woko, there was purple fountain grass for sale and the person there said it is native and infertile and shouldn't spread at all. I told her what you said and she disagreed. Anyway mine' is all gone now. I hope the green version is ok.

http://www.growmeinstead.com.au/plant/pennisetum-setaceum.aspx

the ones i had are on the bottom right however there is a green one that i have bougth from native nurseries, i assume that's not the one they are warning against

Araminta
Araminta's picture

What a great job you are doing, I love the way you put your enthusiasm into action. Wish there were more people like you.heartheartheart

M-L

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi Margaret. There's no doubt that purple fountain grass Pennisetum setaceum is a native grass but not to Australia. My research tells me that it's native to the Meditteranean area, east Africa, the Middle East and south west Asia. I clicked on the link in your last posting & that led me to a list of invasive plants in NSW which included, would you believe, Pennisetum setaceum. So it's a real worry that the nursery woman believes that it's a native. (Presumably she means to Australia &/or your area.) She could unwittingly be involved in the spread of a weed. Whether her versions of the plant are infertile I don't know but I understand it has caused havoc in quite a few places on Earth.

I don't know of any native Pennisetums. All that I've checked (& there are a number I haven't checked) aren't native to Australia. Black's Flora of South Australia lists three, all of which are introduced. Therefore, I'd be very careful about planting any Pennisetums if you're at all concerned about preventing invasion of our bushland. And I'm reluctant to take for granted that a plant for sale in a native nursery is necessarily Australian. There are plenty of native nurseries that stock, for example, Proteas, which are a native of South Africa.

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