Following on from last year’s successful event, Weedbusters and the Department of Conservation will be staging a Taiwan Cherry Awareness and Control Day in the Kerikeri Basin on Saturday August 6th. The event will start at 9am in the carpark below St Johns Church and concentrate on cutting down trees around this area, Kororipo Pa and the Hongi Hika track.
“Taiwan Cherry is a good example of how a seeming harmless attractive garden plant can rapidly become a weed of nightmare proportions” says Weedbusters spokesperson Dan O’Halloran.
The pretty pink Taiwan Cherry (Prunus campanulata) was originally planted as an ornamental tree but its ability to flower and seed within 1 or 2 years means it can spread remarkably quickly and is now becoming a dominant tree species in the basin and throughout Kerikeri.
Mr. O’Halloran praised last year’s effort which was instigated by the Kerikeri Beautification Society. He said many members of the Beautification Society previously had Taiwan Cherry growing on their properties and had initially welcomed the trees because they were pretty to look at and attractive to birds.
“They quickly realised how invasive the trees are and that they displace native trees, which provide a more balanced diet for the birds over the long run” explained Mr. O’Halloran.
Members of the Beautification Society then removed the trees from their gardens and then pressured the Department of Conservation to also take action against them in the basin as well.
The trees are easily cut down using pruning saws and secateurs which will be provided, as will gloves, herbicide to prevent the cut stumps regrowing and safety equipment. Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes and suitable clothing. All attendees will go into a draw to win prizes including garden vouchers and t-shirts, this will be drawn at midday when there will also be a sausage sizzle and refreshments.
The weeding project will be held in conjunction Conservation Week, which runs annually the first week of August. This year’s theme is “Everything Is Connected” and the event is aimed at people who mistakenly believe they are doing good by having trees like Taiwan cherry that attract native birds at certain times. In fact they are causing more harm than good. The birds spread the weed seeds, causing more weeds and displacing native trees, which would provide a more balanced diet for the birds over a longer time. It’s all connected.
If you have concerns about weed issues in the Bay of Islands or to find out more about Conservation Week, turn up on Saturday or contact Dan O’Halloran on 4074861 or Angela Newport on 4074864 or visit the webpage on www.weedbusters.org.nz