Winning the weed battle

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2012
Howick Local Board
JOE DAWSON

SEEING SUCCESS: Howick Local Board parks and open spaces spokeswoman Shirley Warren and Howick historian Alan La Roche at Rogers Park, where contractors were at work last week removing rhamnus.

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The battle against a powerful and insidious foe is being won in Howick but continued vigilance is required.

A significant milestone in the battle to rid the Bucklands Beach Peninsula of the invasive weed rhamnus has been achieved with bio-security workers removing plants from all council parks and reserves.

But more work is needed to see it eradicated from private properties and then kept down.

On the peninsula rhamnus is a containment plant, which means it must be removed to protect other plant species.

The prime concern is sparing the islands of the Hauraki Gulf from an invasion.

Left untended the vigorous weed has the potential to spread and swamp slower-growing natives.

Auckland Council local and sports park manager for the south Birandra Singh says all parks and road corridors in the management zone have been treated.

The last plants, at Rogers Park, were dealt to last week.

"Everything on public open space within the containment area has been done," he says.

"Now we'll just keep on top of it and come through and nail all the little ones coming up."

Most plants have been removed from private properties too, although that job is not yet complete.

"Some people have been very receptive but some are talking about the holes in their hedges."

He says ideally the containment zone would be extended to include the whole Howick ward, which would really prevent the spread of rhamnus.

"We're trying to get into Howick but we need hard data to determine how much is there," Mr Singh says.

The work so far has been funded by the Howick Local Board. Parks and open spaces spokeswoman Shirley Warren says while results so far have been positive a community effort is required.

"We need all the help we can get," Ms Warren says.

"It's a sneaky plant, a horrible thing.

"If we can get rid of it here this year and get rid of it in Howick next year it will be great."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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