Tree vig­i­lante res­cu­ing na­tives seed by seed

Central Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ADAM JA­COB­SON

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.’’

ADAM JA­COB­SON/STUFF

Kings­land res­i­dent Tom Lusk show­ing off a young To­tara sapling he has saved from Auck­land Coun­cil weed spray­ing.

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