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It’s time to eradicate Rhamnus from the Hauraki Gulf

It’s time to eradicate Rhamnus from the Hauraki Gulf

One of New Zealand’s most invasive pest plant species, Rhamnus (also known as Evergreen Buckthorn) is taking over pohutukawa forests in the inner Hauraki Gulf.

Auckland Council biosecurity officers are carrying out a survey across Musick Point and Bucklands Beach to find out how the pest plant has spread. This will be followed by a programme that focuses on control techniques and provides advice to property owners on eradicating the pest from their property.

The survey and programme are supported by the Howick Local Board. John Spiller, local board member, says: “Rhamnus quickly overtakes stream, forest and coastal areas, changing the structure of native ecosystems by forming thick strands and interfering with native plant regeneration.”

Rhamnus leaves are usually dark green and glossy, approximately 6cm long and unlike native evergreens have two small holes at the leaf base with matching bumps on the top of the leaves. The flowers are greenish in colour with small clusters and grow up to 7mm long, turning to a dark red or black fruit.

“It is important for these invasive pest plants to be removed properly to help protect our natural biodiversity. We are not here to perform a regulatory role, but to help people to remove them safely and effectively and to help them attract native wildlife to their backyards,” he says. .

“Help us to protect Auckland’s unique biodiversity by protecting and restoring native flora and fauna and connecting with the environment around you.”

Auckland Council is also working with the Department of Conservation in investigating an integrated pest plant management plan to protect the Hauraki Gulf, and Rhamnus is a key focus of the plan.

If you suspect you have Rhamnus in your backyard and need help removing it, please contact Auckland Council’s Biosecurity Team on 301 0101 or biosecurity@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

For more information on pests plants please refer to the Auckland Council Pest Plant Search http://www.arc.govt.nz/environment/biosecurity/search-for-plants

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