Tickera tackles invasive weeds along coastline

Tickera tackles invasive weeds along coastline

Tickera Community and Recreation Association vice chair Mick Spencer is a firm believer of the old proverb ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.

So when he started noticing infestations of weeds around the small beachside hamlet, just north of Wallaroo, he decided it was up to him to do something about it.

“Over a number of generations Tickera has seen a decline in natural habitat and an escalation of declared weeds and garden escapes,” Mick said.

“This slow but steady infiltration of pest plants into our native reserve areas and roadsides has become the new ‘normal’.

“Many in our community are unaware of what is a declared weed, some even think that African boxthorns are native, and this lack of knowledge leads to complacency.”

Tickera tackles invasive weeds along coastline

Mick gathered the support of the Tickera Community and Recreation Association, and they set about making a difference.

A Northern and Yorke Landscape Board Grassroots Grant has helped the group alter the landscape, assisting in funding the removal of sections of cacti infestations.

The exercise required the use of a heavy-duty backhoe to remove the “large, spreading and challenging” infestations.

“The funding has enabled us to remove three big patches of cacti from around the township,” Mick said.

“In an area we know as Golf Course Gully, there was probably about 20 different variety of cacti that I suspect someone planted 30 or 40 years ago and they have become garden escapes.

“There was a major infestation at the entrance point to the town and once we got rid of them, everyone said they didn’t realise it looked so bad and it was much better without them.

“We now have a nicer welcome to our little town instead of people driving past an entrance of weeds.”

Mick continues to monitor the removal areas for any further infestations and is now working with Northern and Yorke Landscape Board and the local council on another area of cacti infestation just north of the town where garden escapees had spread down a cliff face, onto the beach.

“Those cacti have spread from an old house and were probably planted 80 or 100 years ago,” Mick said.

“There is a particularly nasty cactus in there, Hudson pear cactus, that can actually kill small birds when they fly into it and get stuck, it’s even been known to kill kangaroos.

“Northern and Yorke Landscape Board have begun work to remove the infestation.”

Tickera tackles invasive weeds along coastline

The group started a ‘Bash a Boxthorn’ campaign in the town and along coastal reserves in 2020, targeting not only boxthorn, but also olives, cacti, peppercorn trees and Aleppo pines.

Biocontrol has been used to combat bridal creeper, and education continues to discourage dumping of garden waste in reserve areas to help reduce the spread of garden escapes.

The association has worked with Barunga West Council on the removal of bamboo from the cliff tops at Tickera golf course, removal of 12 Aleppo pines in North Gully, and removal of a large peppercorn tree from the historical well in North Gully.

“Council has also supplied chemical to me for the control of boxthorns and other pest plants,” Mick said.

Mick has become a passionate advocate for ridding the town of noxious weed infestations and returning their little patch of paradise back to native plantings.

“It’s very much a stitch in time saves nine,” he said.

“If you see something, do something about it – if we don’t do it, who will?

“If you’re out and about and see a nasty weed, don’t wait a week longer and walk past it again, it will only get bigger.

“If we keep turning a blind eye, then in 20 years’ time we’ve got a big problem.

“Do something about it, or tell someone about it.

“At the end of the day, it’s very satisfying to see an area cleaned up, and it’s the right thing to do.”