Palm Beach Dune Restoration

Client name: Pittwater Council
Duration: 2015 – 2016
Location: Palm Beach, NSW
Dragonfly Environmental initially conducted a site assessment on:
  • The presence and abundance of weeds and the priority for control
  • Native plant abundance
On completion of the site assessment Dragonfly Environmental made recommendations in order to control the extensive weed infestation on-site in a short time frame. The most predominant weed species on site were Asparagus Fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) and Lantana (Lantana camara).
The focus of these works was to treat weeds present and to restore the three remnant vegetation communities on site which include:
  • Beach Spinifex Grassland
  • Coastal Fore Dune Wattle Scrub
  • Coastal Tea-tree Banksia Scrub
Ecological restoration of the North Palm Beach Dunes was carried out in two main stages.
The primary stage involved extensive weeding that primarily targeted the most abundant weed species on site. In order to treat the Asparagus fern and Lantana, widespread, careful manual removal around all native vegetation coupled with herbicide spraying was carried out.  After several weeks the site had shown a significant level of die-back of the Asparagus Fern and other treated weeds. The non-propagative remains of the treated weeds were mulched using a slasher then spread on the bare soil in preparation for planting.
The secondary stage of the project involved the planting of native tube stock into the mulched areas. The planting was undertaken in stages with consistent irrigation. Regular maintenance was carried out on site throughout this time that primarily consisted of manual weed removal as well as herbicide application in select areas.
The treatment and control of Asparagus aethiopicus and Lantana camara was successful throughout the site with many portions of the site now having little to no weed presence. Weed density was reduced from over 80% to less than 20% and less than 5% in some areas. The three coastal communities will need continued maintenance to control herbaceous weeds and exotic grasses now that mature weeds have been removed. It is vital that these works are undertaken for an extended period time for the overall success of the dunes.