Declaring war on weeds at Orokawa reserve

By Melanie Camoin

Wild ginger found at Orokawa Reserve.
Wild ginger found at Orokawa Reserve.

A weed control operation starts at Waihi Beach on Saturday.

A war on weeds at Orokawa reserve has been declared by the Department of Conservation, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Western Bay District Council who will jointly lead a day-long operation, with Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR) volunteers removing some pest plants invading the reserve at the north end of the beach.

Commonly found in people's garden, wild ginger has posed a growing issue for local authorities over the years.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council biosecurity officer Wendy Mead says the goal is to prevent a widespread invasion at the reserve.

She says the plant is mostly found around the edges of reserve and also in people's gardens.

"Wild ginger was introduced into New Zealand as a garden plant many years ago and has been naturalised since 1940. It is common in the Bay of Plenty but has not yet become fully established in the Orokawa Reserve.

The highly invasive climbing asparagus can be found at Waihi Beach and Bowentown.
The highly invasive climbing asparagus can be found at Waihi Beach and Bowentown.

"It is very invasive and grows very well in the shade of native forest, where it will prevent native plants from regenerating and out-compete native shrubs, ferns and grasses."
Other plants, such as climbing asparagus, will be targeted in the area, and the plant has also colonised other parts of the beach.

"It is present in quite extensive parts of back dunes towards Bowentown," Ms Mead said.
YSAR teams will be sent into the bush to search for both pest plants, pull out the smaller plants and GPS tag the larger plants.

DOC will return to the reserve later to destroy the pests.

SWAP WEEDS FOR NATIVES

While the weed control is underway, locals are invited to trade a rubbish bag of pest plants for a native plant seedling.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council says an extra native plant will be given for rubbish bags full of wild ginger and/or climbing asparagus.

The swap is available for Waihi Beach residents only and limited to five rubbish bags per person. Council says it will only accept pest plants, not lawn clippings.

The swap will take place this Saturday, from 9.30am to 1pm at the Water Reserve car park - at the top of Ocean View Road, Waihi Beach.

- Waihi Leader

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