Purple and yellow weeds a target of new Whaia Titirangi programme
Weeds are the biggest risk to Council’s $1.3m investment in the native restoration work on Titirangi. Controlling the spread of weeds is a priority for spring.
Over 60,000 natives have been planted to replace 8.7 hectares of pine harvested in 2015, with other trees and weeds removed since the start of the restoration.
“After sites were harvested it opened bare land up and allowed previously dormant weeds to germinate,” says project manager Ranell Nikora.
“The major issues to date have been purple senecio, honeysuckle, mothplant, madeira vine, woolly nightshade and blackberry.
“Site-wide weed control needs to continue until a canopy is formed, which will take up to another five years.”
Control programmes have been undertaken with Tairawhiti Environment Centre, community groups and part of the Department of Conservation’s War on Weeds campaign.
A pilot programme ‘Whaia Titirangi’ has been developed in collaboration with Ngati Oneone, to implement a new Weed Control Management Plan supported by Council’s Biosecurity Plant Pest team.
The programme will employ a new dedicated team consisting of a supervisor and cadets to hone weed management and conservation skills that will incorporate kaitiaki practices and values as well as skill based learning for the cadets.
The biosecurity team has already started work to clear the purple Holly Leaved Senecio from within 50m of the reserve boundary to control the spread of the weed to neighbouring properties.
Ms Nikora says over the next couple of weeks we are also targeting the yellow flower shrub also known as boneseed.
“If left unchecked these weeds grow into massive bushes.
“Additional work will include cutting access tracks to start work on the honeysuckle and blackberry in both gullies, they’ll also take out any other weeds or self-seeded exotics while they’re there.
“We hope to do periodic droning to both plan ahead as well as capture progress.”
The biosecurity team will continue the work into October with the Whaia Titirangi team. Initially the pilot programme will run for 12 months and will be assessed for further funding if successful.
Photo: Images captured by drone show patches of yellow flower “boneseed” amongst the young natives, one of the weeds that will be targeted in the next month.