Marlborough’s great growing climate contributes to all manner of valuable crops and unfortunately to a growing number of less desirable weeds.
Various sectors, such as farmers, the Department of Conservation and the Marlborough District Council, have for years waged war on the different types of pest plants or weeds which litter the region but there remain many areas where both productive and scenic land is at huge risk from weeds.
Wilding pines, banana passionfruit, Japanese honeysuckle, old man’s beard, holly, gorse, broom, buddleia, chilean needle grass and boxthorn are just a few of the tenacious species which now call the province home. Introduced species, some have spread from domestic gardens, others such as gorse originally deliberately planted, and yet others like the wilding pines spread by nature’s fickle winds.
What they all have in common is that they’re putting the delicate natural environment more and more at risk as they creep through the native flora and dig their roots deep into the soils. Weeds such as the relatively newly discovered climbing asparagus germinate thickly in complete darkness under dense canopies, ground covers and thick leaf mulch, firmly establishing themselves on roadside verges and beach sections such as those along Port Underwood Rd, on hills above Waikawa Bay and as far away as French Pass.
Not only have weeds taken a firm hold in the bush and high country, but also in many of our streams and rivers.
Undesirables such as oxygen weed are blocking many streams, altering the ecosystem of lakes and resulting in the destruction of wildlife and recreational areas.
While various groups attempt to tackle the problem, much more effort and from a wider range of people is needed to make ongoing inroads. One such initiative made a start last weekend when 50 Marlborough Sounds residents joined forces with DOC and the council to formulate a plan of attack. The group’s first battle site will be Picton’s Victoria Domain in August, which is planned to be under control and replanted by October.
Its members have a huge task ahead of them but with perseverance they will gradually make a noticeable difference. Other members of the community also need to get on board, taking responsibility and learning how to identify weeds and pest plants and how to eradicate them efficiently. They can start with their own gardens where nasties such as the mexican daisy, jasmine, ginger, buddleia, ivy and monbretia might be found.
Those with the time should join the Sounds Weedbusters so that when the areas most at risk are identified they can all work together to systematically weed out the problems.