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Christmas Wish For More Native Mistletoe

07 November 2005

Christmas Wish For More Native Mistletoe


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The annual effort over the Christmas season to save New Zealand's native mistletoe starts again at Lake Okareka in the Bay of Plenty this month.

The area, plagued by weeds and possum activity, has seen a welcome recovery in threatened native mistletoe over the last several years, largely thanks to efforts by weedbusting volunteers led by the Rotorua Botanical Society, with support from the Department of Conservation and Environment Bay of Plenty's Environmental Enhancement Fund.

Two reserves at the Lake have large populations of a native green mistletoe species Tupeia antarctica, and smaller populations of another green mistletoe species Ileostylus micranthus. Both reserves are under threat from weed infestations and possum browsing.

Local DOC Weedbusters Coordinator Sarah Crump says volunteers over the last several years have painstakingly cleared weeds, and have planted new host trees for native mistletoe.
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"Volunteers have already planted further mistletoe host trees in September (mainly five finger, tree lucerne, and kohuhu) to replace exotic weed species that have been dominating the area," Ms Crump says.

"Last spring more than 500 mistletoe host trees were planted. These enjoyed a high rate of survival, and in September this year, volunteers planted a further 100 host trees to supplement last year's plantings," she says.

"For long-term success, we need volunteers on Saturday 19th November to help clear spring re-growth of weeds around new plantings and existing mistletoe host trees. There will be activities suitable for all ages and abilities, and we welcome any new volunteers to join this very important effort to retain our native mistletoe," Ms Crump says.

The main weed problems around the plantings are bindweed, Japanese honeysuckle, jasmine and wild turnip. In the wider area, the group is also continuing to tackle a range of other weeds including wattles, tradescantia, wild cherries, ivy and montbretia.

Ms Crump says that, happily, blackberry is no longer a problem in this area because of previous control efforts.

The volunteer day will begin at 8.45am opposite the old Okareka store and fire station. For more information, contact Paul Cashmore on (07) 349 7432 (work) or (07) 348 4421 (home).

Weedbusters is supported by NZ Landcare Trust, Landcare Research, Biosecurity New Zealand, Nursery and Garden Industry Association, Federated Farmers NZ, New Zealand Biosecurity Institute, Department of Conservation, Plant Protection Society, Biodiversity New Zealand, and all regional councils and unitary authorities.

ENDS


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