Looking At Landcare – 24/6/2016

Hi Landcarers

Have you noticed sections of eucalypts in our local area that look like they are dying?

Even though the trees look like they are dying, they aren’t. They are under attack from a small insect called a Psyllid. The psyllid that is attacking our trees belongs to a genera called Cardiaspina.

These psyllids are a jumping plant lice that sucks the saps from the leaves of eucalyptus trees, leaving the leaves looking like they have a white scale. This scale is actually a lerp. Sounds like something from a Dr Seuss book doesn’t it? Lerps are the sugary coatings that act as a protective cover for the psyllid. It helps protect it from its enemies and dehydration.

Every group of eucalyptus tree has its own group of psyllid species. It is natural for populations of eucalyptus trees to come under attack from psyllids in a cyclical nature.

Most eucalypts can cope with high psyllid numbers for a couple of seasons and will recover once the population of the psyllid declines. Outbreaks will often last 2-3 years with several cycles of defoliation and recovery during this time.

Outbreaks are often recorded after significantly dry periods which put the trees under stress and lower their natural defences. With the dry and hot February and March at the start of this year many of the trees could have been suffering severe dehydration. This makes them susceptible to attack from the Cardiaspina.

The populations of the psyllid will eventually collapse due to changes in the weather conditions and the depletion of suitable foliage. When this happens the psyllid is also more vulnerable to natural predators including: wasps, ladybird larvae ants, spiders and birds such as honeyeaters thornbills and rosellas.

Central West Local Land Services (CWLLS) will be distributing the Annual Land and Stock Returns next week to more than 14,000 land managers across the Central West region. These returns are sent to landholders who pay Local Land Services rates or have a Property Identification Code.

These returns help the CWLLS bid to gain a statewide picture of agricultural use and livestock numbers. Across NSW, 150,000 annual returns are distributed and they provide a snapshot of livestock at 30 June. The returns are due to be lodged by 31 August.

Just a ‘heads up’ about National Tree Day (NTD) activities at the end of July. This year Central West Lachlan Landcare are running four days of NTD related activities commencing with Eco Day for Stage 3 students in Parkes and Forbes schools on Thursday, 28 July.

A group from each school is selected to join us at Eco Day at the Central West Livestock Exchange. We have mini-workshops on topics including recycling and worm farms, invasive species, planting, weeds, insects, a tour of the exchange and the snake man.

On Friday, 29 July, we will be planting as part of Forbes Schools National Tree Day. Saturday will be the first NTD that we have hosted in Forbes and Sunday we will be holding Parkes NTD. I will have more details about each of the community events in the next few weeks.

National Tree Day activities have many positive advantages, including contributing to a project in your local area, meeting members of your community, encouraging children to be involved in outside activities and teaching them planting skills and learning about the importance of biodiversity and the role that they can play in their community as they mature.

If you would like any more information about these days or anything else in this article, please contact me on 6862 4914 or email cwllpo@hotmail.com

Until next week, happy Landcaring!