Martyn Wright Road – bush working bee, biocontrol learning and BBQ.
Join us for a half-day of work and learning about weed biocontrol in the largest area of remaining native bush in the Auckland area west of Pukekohe.
Our expedition will be guided by Duncan and Chris Granshaw. Please let Duncan and Chris know if you intend to come by emailing them before Saturday at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Good loppers, or a pruning saw and/or sharp spade
- Solid footwear & appropriate clothing.
- You are also welcome to bring some food for the shared bbq lunch.
We will start with a warm up of woolly nightshade and privet control along the top ridge to clear a walking track. This will be using manual methods rather than chemicals, apart from one person who will be in charge of stump painting large shrub weeds. Our goal is to clear a pathway to allow access to the extensive bait station and trap network Duncan has set up in the bush. After this we will come back to the house and then we will head down past some ponds into the bush and to the stream below. There are some spectacular trees here, and we may see some banded kokopu. However, the purpose of the second walk is to check out the biocontrol agents that have been released in this area to control wandering willy.
Biocontrol of tradescantia
Wandering willy (tradescantia) is prevalent in much of our bush. It is spread around really well by cattle in the grooves of their hooves. Any fragment is enough to start a new infestation. It thrives in the under-story of even very dense bush, as it only needs a tiny amount of light. Its trailing stems totally blanket the ground, which smoothers out all native seedlings. Several different biocontrol beetles have been released in NZ to fight this weed. Almost 10 years ago Auckland Council employee Holly Cox released the tradescantia stem borer beetle from Brazil around 1km to the east of Martyn Wright road, on Gaylene and Bruce Taylor’s property. We’re hoping to see how far they have travelled.
As well as the stem borer beetle, in 2020 Auckland Council also released the yellow spotted tradescantia fungus on Duncan & Chris’s property. This is already showing some impressive results. Large blotches on tradescantia leaves indicate the fungus at work. Let’s see if we can find it and see how well it’s destroying the wandering williy.