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Central & Northern
Victoria's Indigenous
Nursery & Wildflower Farm
Land Rehabilitation
& Environmental

Goldfields Revegetation

Managing Your Bush Block

Why have you chosen to buy a bush block? You probably chose it because you appreciate the beauty of our natural environment and wish to live in harmony with the flora and fauna of the Bendigo bush.

Bush Block

But living in a Box-Ironbark Forest or other Australian native bushland is not for everyone. For those who appreciate natural surroundings, with native flora and fauna, it can provide a very rewarding lifestyle.

On the other hand, if someone is afraid of the bush, whether for bushfire, snakes or some other reason, then perhaps they should buy a cleared block. Someone who clears their bush block from a fear of fire, is spoiling the environment for their neighbours, who chose to live in a bush area

The indigenous vegetation of Central Victoria is called Box-Ironbark Forest, named after the principal eucalypt species, Grey Box, Yellow Box, Red Ironbark and so on.

In detail, a number of subdivisions are recognised, corresponding to different soil and drainage conditions. For example dry rocky ridges carry Grey Box and Red Stringybark, while Yellow Box is largely confined to alluvial soils along creeks and rivers.

Box-lronbark Forest exists only in Central Victoria and a small adjacent area in southern New South Wales.

It is found nowhere else in the world, but in the past 150 years we have cleared 85 per cent of it. Therefore we must minimise the impact of our activities on the remaining forest and use indigenous species in our revegetation work. This will be of great benefit in arresting the decline and helping to restore this important forest type.

Bush Block with wildflowersIndigenous species are plants or animals that have evolved in the area, as opposed to species brought in from elsewhere, which are termed exotic. In Victoria, 'exotic’ applies equally to plants from Western Australia as to those from Europe.

Indigenous vegetation has evolved to suit the local soil and climate and, importantly, in association with the local fauna. It therefore provides the ideal food and habitat for the local fauna and some plant species may even use the birds and animals as agents for distributing seeds.

The use of indigenous species helps maintain (or even restore) biodiversity. Biodiversity means the range of different plant and animal species, a feature of natural systems that has been greatly reduced since the European settlement of Australia.

Your block may be small in area, but it can provide valuable habitat for native fauna and, in combination with like-minded neighbours, can form part of a wildlife corridor, helping the preservation of our wildlife.

Some points to help you to manage your bush block:

  • Take time to study your block in every season as this will help you to appreciate the diversity of species. It is helpful to do this before building if time permits.
  • Do not bring in commercial topsoil. It tends to contain weed seeds and is high in plant nutrients; both factors are bad for native plants and will cause problems.
  • Do not water the bush. Our indigenous species have evolved to suit the climate and, once established, do not require regular watering.
  • Septic tank effluent is too high in nutrients for native plants. This, combined with the extra water, will eventually kill many species, including Box and Ironbark trees.
  • Environmental weeds are a serious problem in many Victorian regions. Familiarise yourself with their identification and eradicate any you find. Unfortunately, many of them are still sold by commercial nurseries.
  • Planting of indigenous species should be confined to the cooler months. Planting in summer will result in many losses. Rabbit guarding is likely to be needed in most areas.
  • Dogs and cats can be very destructive of native wildlife. If you have pets, ensure they are adequately controlled.
  • Clearing for house sites and so on should minimise the destruction of mature trees – they are quite rare around Central Victoria, where most trees are regrowth, less than 100 years old.
  • Dead trees, logs and rocks should be retained as far as possible, because they are valuable habitat for birds, reptiles and insects.
  • Excavation for underground services requires care. Push aside the litter layer, then the topsoil, before digging the trench, preferably using a ditch-witch. After backfilling, return the topsoil and litter. This way disturbance is managed and the land will virtually heal itself.
  • Dams are commonly required on larger bush blocks. Preserve the litter layer and topsoil during excavation, so it can be used to cover the batters of the embankment. The latter should be vegetated to prevent erosion, but should be kept free from trees and large shrubs, whose roots can weaken it.
  • Subsoil from dam excavation is a suitable rooting medium for indigenous species and may be used for garden beds or similar purposes.
  • Rabbits are always potential invaders of your property, if not already present. Do not provide them with habitat, such as piles of loose soil, timber or rubbish.
  • Fire is always a risk in bush areas. Take sensible precautions such as avoiding trees and large shrubs close to the house, cutting long grass and keeping woodpiles and other hazards at a suitable distance.

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Goldfields Revegetation
Proprietor: Ashley Elliott
ABN: 30 541 252 187

Site by: APP Pty Ltd

Further Reading
Useful information can be obtained from the following:
» Did it escape From Your Garden - City of Greater Bendigo. A guide to the environmental weeds of the City of Greater Bendigo.
» Flora of Melbourne - Australian Plants Society Maroondah Inc.
» Gardening with Local Native Plants - City of Greater Bendigo.
» A Guide to the Wildflowers in the Maiden Gully Bushland - Goldfields
Revegetation P/L.
» Indigenous Plant Catalogue - Goldfields Revegetation P/L.
» Environmental Weed Identification Sheets - Goldfields Revegetation P/L.