Cher­ries not so merry

Cambridge Edition - - WHAT’S ON - WAIKATO WEEDWATCH

Wild im­ported cherry trees look nice and pro­vide food for our na­tive tui who like the fruit.

But the trees can cause var­i­ous prob­lems if their spread isn’t man­aged care­fully. Or­na­men­tal cher­ries are grown de­lib­er­ately in gar­dens, parks and ar­bore­tums.

How­ever, they can also be found grow­ing wild in na­tive forests, tus­sock grass­lands, scrub, and along road­sides and ri­par­ian mar­gins. Tui are one of the key ways wild cher­ries can be spread.

Wild­ing cher­ries species are fast-grow­ing and can crowd and shade out smaller plants grow­ing be­neath them, in turn al­ter­ing na­tive plant com­mu­ni­ties.

They may po­ten­tially dam­age na­tive birds by up­set­ting their bi­o­log­i­cal rhythm through pro­vid­ing a lot of food when nor­mally their food source would be scarce.

This could trig­ger un­nat­u­ral be­hav­iours like pre­ma­ture nest­build­ing and breed­ing be­hav­iour. To help pre­vent birds spread­ing cherry seed from home gar­dens, cover fruit­ing trees with bird net­ting.

Con­trol suck­ers by mow­ing un­der trees or by prun­ing them off. Small seedlings can be pulled out by hand.

Af­ter ini­tial con­trol, mon­i­tor the site for re­growth for at least two years.

Use all her­bi­cides in ac­cor­dance with the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions.

-Sup­plied by Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

WAIKATO RE­GIONAL COUN­CIL

Tui who like the fruit of im­ported cherry trees tut the trees can cause var­i­ous prob­lems if their spread isn’t man­aged.

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