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Volunteers clear boneseed from Godley Head
Aug 8, 2005
Author: Weedbusters

The proposed Awaroa Godley Head Coastal Park development near Christchurch has moved a step closer thanks to a massive united effort by Weedbusters volunteers to clear one of New Zealand’s declared ‘pest’ plants, boneseed, from the area.

The Department of Conservation and the Christchurch City Council plan to develop the proposed park in the Godley Head area as an ecological safe haven. But a stumbling block has been the massive infestation of boneseed throughout the area.

Now 90 per cent of the boneseed is gone, thanks to working bees by volunteers from Weedbusters New Zealand, the Canterbury branch of the Biosecurity Institute, the White-flippered Penguin Trust, the Christchurch City Council, the Department of Conservation and some bach owners.

Weedbusters spokesman, Keith Briden, says the boneseed project has been an excellent example of what communities can do by working together to get rid of weeds that cause the local native environment to deteriorate.

“Boneseed, also known as saltbush, grows fast and quickly colonises coastal sites, shading out native seedlings and displacing the indigenous vegetation. It is particularly prolific, with a huge capacity for spreading, and mature bushes producing up to 50,000 seeds a year.

“So it’s so pleasing to be able to say we’ve successfully removed boneseed from 90 per cent of the Godley Head/Taylor’s Mistake area. What remains is mostly on inaccessible cliffs,” Mr Briden says.

“This work has been a great start for the proposed Awaroa Godley Head Coastal Park Development,” he says.

Ian Surgenor from the Christchurch City Council has paid tribute to the efforts of local weedbusters in getting rid of the boneseed.

“The Council has now been able to move ahead with some native planting to enhance the area around Giants Nose,” Mr Surgenor says.

“Council staff in the last few weeks have put in 180 plants including flax, cabbage tree, ake ake and broadleaf, which should assist the restoration of the area,” he says.

Mr Briden says boneseed is now coming into flower around New Zealand, and it is a good time for control.

Boneseed’s bright yellow, daisy-like flowers make it easy to spot at this time of the year, and methods of control are fairly easy.