Monday, July 26, 2010

Weedbusters Awards

My expertise is mostly in the field of animal pests. If it has legs it will generally have some idea how to get rid of it or keep it away. I have however, been getting more involved in the control of pest plants (weeds). Not just weeds in the garden which are nuisance and make the garden look untidy or compete with the flowers I have planted, but weeds in the environment. Invasive weeds brought into New Zealand and which compete with native plants; things like boneseed, broom, gorse, old man's beard, wilding pines, ........sadly the list is extraordinarily long.

I am a member of the Canterbury Branch of the NZBI and we have become involved in a project to eradicate weeds from the coast around Taylor's Mistake near Sumner. The project was started and has been run almost single handily by Keith Briden of DOC who lives int he area. He and the local Weedbusters have cleared much of the boneseed, broom and other weeds from the headlands from Nicholson Park to Godley Head. The NZBI got involved a couple of years ago and together we successfully applied for funding to plant natives.

Planting natives on the heads above Taylor's Mistake
I have spent a few weekends helping remove weeds and plant natives. Keith rewards the volunteers with a beer and some of the results of his fishing/hunting. We are hoping the weather will stay good enough to plant another 1600 native seedlings this weekend. Should you wish to join us and help you can contact me or Keith (kbriden@doc.govt.nz) for details.

Kiwicare has recently donated $1,000 worth of herbicides, fertilisers and possum bait as prizes for the annual Weedbusters Awards. The winners will come from the many community projects around the country dedicated to eradicating pest plants and rejuvenating native habitats for the benefit of all New Zealanders. I am ever impressed by the dedication and effort of so many volunteer groups around New Zealand. What a great country.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.  

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