Putting the Native Back into Native Strips

04 April, Garden Design, Natives (A-Z), Planting for Wildlife, Verge Planting

On Friday, our new street tree was installed in line with the blue dot by two friendly workmen from the BCC.  They called it a “Lop Con” short for Lophostemon confertus (Queensland Brush Box), and it’s the same as the others in the street.

Lophostemon confertus (Queensland Brush Box)

My Lophostemon confertus (Queensland Brush Box)

One neighbour who is also missing a tree has already ordered hers. If you are in Brisbane and have no tree on your verge or nature strip, just ring the BCC call centre 3403 8888 and ask for a tree.

It will be a true “native strip” with low growing native shrubs, grasses and groundcovers

This means that work can start on the patch between the concrete path and the kerb. It will be a true “native strip” with low growing native shrubs, grasses and groundcovers for visibility. Just imagine the wildlife habitat and corridors we could create if enough Brisbane residents turned their barren grass verges into native strips.

Because of the road design, there is no need to worry about people alighting from cars. A path needs to be included for pedestrians who cross using the island in the middle of the road even though every pedestrian I have seen veers off to walk up the next driveway rather than walk on the grass.

The next step is to clear the grass and weeds.  Inside the garden, I might smother with mulch for several months instead but that is not appropriate here.

The grass comes up readily so there is no need to dig more that a few centremetres. The soil is dust-dry clay and needs gypsum, compost and light mulch, and frequent light watering for a while. I gave the new tree, and the bare soil, a dose of seaweed solution as well.

I like to get some pioneer plants into the soil as quickly as possible, so have left strands of dichondra repens to take hold and will transfer some viola banksii during the week. These will provide a living mulch for the soil while the garden is being established.

plants at base of street tree

Scaevola, viola banksii (native violets) and dichondra repens (kidney weed) in front of the street tree.

Each day this week, I’ll do a bit more, clearing and planting as I go and aim to have it finished by the end of May. (May 30 update here)

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