Bass Coast Landcare Network tackle gorse using EcoBlade technology
The EcoBlade in action.
If you have never seen an EcoBlade in action then you are missing out according to Bass Coast Landcare Network.
The EcoBlade is an attachment for machinery that uses ‘wet blade’ technology to cut, mulch and apply herbicide to stumps and stems on woody weeds in the same event.
Utilising a community grant from the Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT), Bass Coast Landcare Network (BCLN) engaged a contractor with access to EcoBlade technology at private properties on Phillip Island.
The results of using an EcoBlade to manage gorse have blown BCLN away.
“Spraying herbicide in previous years was ineffective due to the sheer mass of plants,” said Anna Brayley, a member of BCLN. “Some plants were two metres high and so thick that it was hard to even make your way through to begin spraying.”
Cutting and painting had also been unproductive due to the prickly nature of the job, with the plants being far too dense to reach through and access the stems.
“The EcoBlade is a brilliant piece of machinery,” Anna said. “It is essentially a cut and paint machine, which also mulches the bulk of the shrub, leaving behind a lovely clean looking paddock with all remaining parts of the plant poisoned.”
Advantages of using the EcoBlade over traditional mulching methods include a reduction in the amount of chemical used, reduced spray drift which therefore reduces off-target chemical application.
Having the herbicide applied immediately to cut stems means the plant has no chance to heal before the herbicide is absorbed straight into the root system.
Additionally, the EcoBlade is suitable as a year-round treatment technique.
BCLN returned a few months later to check the progress and a majority of the mulched gorse had dried up with only a few specks of green standing out for easy follow up control.
“There was the odd new shoot, as to be expected with such a persistent weed, but overall we were very impressed with the results,” Anna said.
The VGT offers community grants of up to $30,000 to groups of two or more landowners and local Landcare groups to help combat gorse in their local area.
“The focus of our grants is to assist those who need to kick-start their gorse control,” VGT chair Peter Everist said. “The grants are available for on-ground gorse control projects that embrace community-led effort.”
The VGT community grants 2019-20 program will open for applications the beginning of May 2019.
Visit vicgorsetaskforce.com.au for more information.