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Olive tree removal proves fruitful along Adams Creek

Olive tree removal proves fruitful along Adams Creek
Published 23 May 2023
Large and invasive olive trees have been successfully cleared from 1.3km of some of the most infested creek line in the City.

Large and invasive olive trees have been successfully cleared from 1.3km of some of the most infested creek line in the City, marking a significant milestone in restoration efforts by City of Playford and Green Adelaide.

Extensive work has been undertaken on Adams Creek in Hillbank and Craigmore over many years to remove dense pest plants, including olive trees, ash trees and pine trees.

This project has been spearheaded by Council with assistance from Green Adelaide.

Mayor Glenn Docherty said Adams Creek marked a huge milestone in Council’s work to restore kilometres of creek lines and reserves across the city.

“We follow a long-term strategy to reduce pest plants that degrade native vegetation and our beautiful open spaces,” Mayor Docherty said.

“This joint project is about reclaiming the environment back for our native plants, so they have a chance to thrive.”

Council has also commenced small-scale planting in the locations where native plants had started to degrade.

“These plants seem to be growing well amongst some remnant native vegetation, so the site will be managed carefully to encourage natural regeneration,” Mayor Docherty said.

Follow-up controls are in place to remove any existing seedbank and to ensure the pest plants are completely eradicated.

Olive trees were introduced to South Australia from the Mediterranean in the mid-1800s, and their population has significantly increased, causing a major problem for our native plants.

Green Adelaide ecologist Jason van Weenen said feral European olive trees are a declared pest plant that significantly reduce biodiversity.

“Feral olives are a major pest, especially in grassy woodlands where they are a strong competitor against other shrubs and suppress growth of ground-layer natives,” Mr van Weenen said.

“This control work from City of Playford plays a major role in protecting grassy woodland environments, which are vital habitats for our local wildlife.

“Control of olives requires significant effort and a long-term plan, which is why it is important that any cultivated trees be carefully managed,” Mr van Weenen said.

Olive trees can become problematic in residential backyards when unharvested and unmanaged.

Unharvested fruit can spread the wild population when birds and other wildlife eat the fruit and drop the seeds.

People with olive trees on their property can help prevent the spread of wild populations with a few simple steps. These are:

  • Ensure all fruit is harvested and then dispose in the green bin if you’re not going to consume it
  • Prune the olive tree in the dormant season to keep the canopy in check
  • Remove the tips of young shoots to contain size and growth
  • Place netting over the tree so birds and other wildlife can’t get to the fruit
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