Exclusion fencing protects Desert lime
Pernatty Station’s Desert Lime Tree Exclusion Fence project followed the first recruitment of seedlings in many years.
In an effort to protect the native species, Desert limes (Citrus glauca) seedlings were counted, fenced and seeds collected to safeguard the future of the species as part of the 2022-23 Grassroots Grant round.
The Desert lime is a thorny shrub or small tree that has a natural distribution in the semi-arid regions of eastern Australia. This extends from Rockhampton to Winton in Queensland, south to Dubbo in central New South Wales, and west to Quom. It is a traditional bush food that was used by Aboriginal people.
While Pernatty Station, in the Gawler Ranges district, is outside of this range, there are more than 125 trees on a sandy area of the property.
When the heavy rain that fell in January 2022 followed years of drought that resulted in reduced grazing pressure from rabbits, kangaroos and livestock, the conditions were ideal for recruitment of the tree.
In the $9150 project, a commitment was made to protect the seedlings and monitor their growth. Fencing was constructed around about 25 juvenile and mature trees, to provide a better chance of survival by controlling the total grazing pressure.
The third component of the grant was to establish a site where Desert limes can be studied in the future. Seed was collected and the species will be cultivated to enable interested people to visit and study this species.
A rich source of Vitamin E, folate, calcium and lutein (a compound that plays an important role in eye health and wellbeing), the desert lime is also known to contain a high potassium to sodium ratio, which can help to reduce blood pressure.
Livestock and rabbits like it too, and the bush can be more heavily grazed than a bullock bush and is slower to regenerate.