The effort to remove boneseed from the Godley Head/Port Hills area in Christchurch, near Taylor’s Mistake Beach, will be showcased at a major conference in Australia this month.
The area has become one of New Zealand’s major success stories in efforts to control boneseed, following a massive united effort by volunteers and government agencies.
Keith Briden from the Department of Conservation will present a paper on the success of the project at the Australia boneseed forum in Geelong later this month (August 27).
Mr Briden said the effort to remove the pesty weed had helped to clear the way for an ecological safe-haven at the proposed Awaroa Godley Head Coastal Park Development.
“Australia is also plagued by boneseed, and they have declared it one of their 20 Weeds of National Significance, Weed specialists In Australia are keen to hear of our success,” he said.
“The work has been done over several years, and with boneseed now coming into its flowering season, we are currently checking for any plants that have been missed,” Mr Briden said.
Boneseed, also known as saltbush, grows fast and quickly colonises coastal sites, shading out native seedlings and displacing the indigenous vegetation. With mature bushes producing up to 50,000 seeds a year that are spread by birds, it is particularly invasive.
”While flowering boneseed will be very apparent within a few weeks in other areas of New Zealand, the Godley Head/Taylor’s Mistake area will be mostly free of it,” Mr Briden said.
“We have successfully removed boneseed from 95 per cent of the Godley Head/Taylors Mistake area. What remains is mostly on inaccessible cliffs,” Mr Briden said.
Last Year Environment Canterbury funded a helicopter spray trial of boneseed on cliff areas. More work is planned for this winter. There has also been some work on removing broom and boxthorn, and community native plantings arranged by the Christchurch City Council are doing well.
Mr Briden said the project was an excellent example of what communities could achieve by working together to get rid of weeds impacting on the local environment.
”With boneseed now coming into flower around New Zealand, it is an excellent time for other communities to work towards control and eradication,” he said.
“Methods of control are fairly easy, and information can be accessed on the national Weedbusters internet site on www.weedbusters.org.nz ”