Project Update: Experiments with Suppression of Mother of Millions

Mother of Millions Plant

Mother of Millions Plant

From 2018, God’s Way Ltd volunteers have been involved in the removal of the introduced species Mother of Millions on the private property of the God’s Way Ltd Founding Members.

Mother of Millions is an ornamental plant native to Madagascar and classed as a noxious, invasive species in Australia. The plant reproduces prolifically and law requires property owners take measures to control and minimise its spread. Commonly used methods of removal include chemical pesticides and burning, however these add toxicity to the land and destroy large amounts of intelligent life and existing ground cover, which are crucial for environmental recovery. For these reasons, hand weeding has been chosen as the method for removing the plants on this property.

An area of heavy Mother of Millions growth

An area of heavy Mother of Millions growth


More information about the species and process of removal has been detailed in this previous blog post.

God’s Way Ltd Founding Members (Jesus & Mary) have donated the use of their land so that God’s Way organisation can find out more about the Mother of Millions plant, including:
  • Understanding more about the purpose and role that weeds fulfill in a system
  • Investigating what imbalance Mother of Millions is attempting to correct in the soil and landscape
  • Finding methods, in harmony with God’s Laws, that reduce the proliferation of the plant or eradicate it all together
  • Understanding more about the emotions that cause people to introduce species to non-native habitats
In addition, the activity can:
  • Assist volunteers to work through certain emotions
  • Help the organisation to select volunteers by measuring important qualities in individuals performing the task

Mother of Millions plant in flower

Mother of Millions plant in flower

Experimentation

Prior to the involvement of God’s Way Ltd volunteers, Jesus and Mary have been experimenting with methods of Mother of Millions removal for many years. They feel that the Mother of Millions exist on the property because it is one of few plants in the region that can grow in the heavily depleted soil. The approach which they have suggested to God’s Way is to address the issue of poor soil resulting from environmental damage (the cause of the problem), rather than simply deal with the influx of Mother of Millions plants (a resultant effect). By addressing causes, effects will naturally be resolved.

One approach being implemented under the God’s Way Ltd Introduced Species programme, is to keep the Mother of Millions at bay while introducing large quantities of organic matter onto the property. The aim is to improve the quality of the soil over time and allow more native plants to become established. Once areas of the property have been hand cleared of Mother of Millions, experiments will be undertaken to place organic matter onto the soil and measure over time whether these methods are successful in suppressing regrowth of the weed and supporting the growth of native species.

Using this approach, experiments will be conducted in different areas including a fenced area, along the roadside and a large area running down to a dam. These areas of land have been previously weeded of Mother of Millions regrowth a couple of times. In preparation for the experiments, volunteers will ‘sweep’ the areas again, weeding as necessary to make sure the sites are fully clear.

Experimentation Sites, cleared of Mother of Millions

Sweeping an area for Mother of Millions

Experimentation Sites, cleared of Mother of Millions

Experimentation Site, cleared of Mother of Millions

Volunteers have found that the Mother of Millions is very camouflaged in amongst the leaves, mulch and certain plants. It was almost like a game of ‘Where’s Wally/Waldo’, but Mother of Millions style!

Where's Wally Mother of Millions style

Where’s Wally Mother of Millions style

Can you spot the Mother of Millions plants?

Can you spot the Mother of Millions plants?

God’s Way Ltd will conduct experiments using different methods chosen as appropriate for each particular site. These will include:

Method 1: Foodscraps, Carboard, Mulch

Laying food scraps (from the Green Waste Collection Project) and mulch on top of a layer of thick cardboard.

Method 1

Method 1

An experiment underway, using Method 1

An experiment underway, using Method 1

Method 2: Seed, Carboard, Mulch

Laying native grass seeds under a thin layer of cardboard with mulch on top

Method 2

Method 2

Method 3: Seed, Coconut Coir, Mulch

Laying native grass seeds under a layer of coconut coir (fibre) mat with mulch on top. The coir comes in a large roll 20m long by 2m wide.

Method 3

Method 3

Method 4: Seed, Existing Mulch

Laying a native seed mix of trees, shrubs and grasses of various heights over existing heavy mulch.

Method 4

Method 4

The fourth approach will be used in an area fenced to keep wildlife out and will hopefully give the trees and shrubs a chance to get established. The fence protects new growth as wallabies & other wildlife tend to love eating anything green and tender!

Can you spot the Mother of Millions plants?

A fenced area where Method 4 will be implemented

The experiments will rely on rainfall, rather than volunteers watering the areas.

Results will be measured over time and God’s Way Ltd directors hope that the cardboard, coconut coir matting, food scraps and mulch will break down, the native seeds will germinate and that Mother of Millions will not regrow in these areas. These results would indicate that balance is being restored to the system.

There have already been some indications of success in applying similar mulching methods in other areas of the property where the species has become invasive. In these areas, Mother of Millions regrowth has been eliminated and vastly reduced. Those involved in the organisation are excited to see what results in the new experiment sites!

Keep watching this blog for further updates on these experiments in environmental recovery and Mother of Millions removal.


Title: Project Update: Experiments with Suppression of Mother of Millions
Date of Submission: 7 June 2019
Date of Event: Ongoing
Branch: Environment
Branch Auditor: AJ Miller (Jesus)
Branch Manager: AJ Miller (Jesus)
Programme: Introduced Species
Project: Mother of Millions Removal
Location: Wilkesdale, Queensland, Australia
Post Contributors: Arvarna Lowe, Kate Eckersall, Juliann Cameron, Mary Luck

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