Camphor Laurel

Cinnamomum camphora

Family: Lauraceae

Type of weed:

Flower colour(s):

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , ,

Description

A fast growing large rough-barked tree with a large extensive root system.

It has light green glossy leaves with wavy margins and a yellow mid-rib.

Masses of small white insignificant flowers appear in spring.

Fruits mature in autumn. They are small green berries which turn black on ripening in April–May. Over 100,000 fruits can be produced on a mature tree.

The plant has a distinctive camphor smell and distinctive venation.

Dispersal

Spread by birds. Seeds germinate more readily after ingestion by birds. Camphor Laurel will sucker from larger trees.

Impact on bushland

The plant creates large dense stands that smother out other vegetation with heavy shade. It has a very dense, shallow root system which, when accompanied by the shading provided by the canopy, suppresses the regeneration of native seedlings.

Camphor laurel can destabilise stream banks due to undercutting by the shallow root system and the general lack of ground cover species around the trees to hold the soil in place.

Distribution

. Lower Mountains to Springwood and along the Nepean River.

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina)
  • Lillypilly (Acmena smithii)
  • Cedar Wattle (Acacia elata)
  • Buckinghamia (Buckinghamia celsissima)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

  • Stem inject or frill
  • Scrape and paint

Chemical control

Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Glyphosate.

Stem injection or frilling

Stem injection
Drilling holes at 45° and squirting poison into holes
Apply poison immediately after drilling

At the base of the tree, drill holes at a 45° angle into the sapwood (just under the outer bark) at two finger space intervals around the entire base of the tree. Repeat this process below the lowest branch

Frilling

As an alternative to drilling, make cuts into the sapwood with a chisel or axe. Fill each cut/hole with herbicide immediately. Repeat the process at 3 cm intervals around the tree.

Considerations

Plants should be healthy and actively growing. Deciduous plants should be treated in spring and autumn when leaves are fully formed. For multi-stemmed plants, inject or chip below the lowest branch or treat each stem individually. Herbicide must be injected immediately before the plant cells close (within 30 seconds before translocation of herbicide ceases.)

Scrape and paint

Using knife to scrape long gashes along stem
Scrape bark/outer layer away with a knife

With a knife, scrape up to a metre of the stem to reach the layer below the bark/outer layer. Immediately apply herbicide along the length of the scrape.

Considerations

  • A maximum of half the stem diameter should be scraped. Do not ringbark.
  • Larger stems (over 1 cm in diameter) should have two scrapes opposite each other.

Specific control tips for this weed

Mature camphor laurel trees are large and therefore difficult and expensive to remove. The most effective control is to stop seedlings from maturing.

Treat immature and juvenile plants to take replacements out of the system.

  • Scrape and paint larger seedlings. Masses of seedlings are produced in response to stem injection. If hand pulling seedlings be aware that they have a kink in the root which breaks off easily. It is important to get the entire plant.
  • Stem inject large trees.

For key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.