Tree vigilante rescuing natives seed by seed
A central Auckland man has taken it upon himself to save young, self-seeding native plants from council weed spraying.
Tom Lusk, a secondary school English teacher, has been replanting native seedlings away from a council designated spray zone, which runs along a motorway side berm of the north western cycleway.
‘‘I’m taking self-seeded seedling from where they would get destroyed, and I’m planting them over to the other side in the garden to grow up,’’ Lusk said.
The seedlings would otherwise be sprayed because they were encroaching onto the bike path, he said.
The native flora included totara, rengarenga, puriri, kohuhu and pittosporum; with karamu, karo and cabbage trees being the most common transplants.
Lusk estimated he had saved 40 plants over the past five years.
He said he acknowledged the council had to keep the cycle path clear, and he didn’t want to tread on anyone’s toes.
‘‘They need maintaining it.
‘‘It’s such a great bike path, and it’s so important that people have visibility along it.’’
He said he was also concerned about the amount of yard waste which had been dumped along the cycle path, saying it contributed to weeds like tradescantia and privet taking over.
Auckland Transport (AT) spokesman James Ireland said it was responsible for weed control in the area.
Only spot spraying occurred along the cycle way, Ireland said.
‘‘If we get complaints of veg- to keep etation encroaching on the cycleway we will trim it back,’’ Ireland said.
Residents who did not want herbicide sprayed in their area could request to be added to AT’s no spray list through a no spray register, he said.
A condition of the list is participants must agree to take over control of noxious weeds, he said.
Controversial weed killer glyphosate was not used along the cycle way, Ireland said.
‘‘I'm taking selfseeded seedling from where they would get destroyed, and I'm planting them over to the other side in the garden to grow up.’’
Kingsland resident Tom Lusk showing off a young Totara sapling he has saved from Auckland Council weed spraying.