Cherries not always so merry
Wild imported cherry trees look nice and provide food for our beloved 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 to places where they may be difficult to control.
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 (a way cherry trees have of reproducing) by mowing under trees or by pruning them off. Small seedlings can be pulled out by hand.
For wilding cherries, cut stumps near ground level and paint with an appropriate herbicide.
After initial control, monitor the site for regrowth for at least two years. Use all herbicides in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure no herbicide comes into contact with other plants, the soil or waterways.
If looking for native alternatives to ornamental cher- ries try titoki or porokaiwhiri. Non-native options include blue jacaranda and magnolias. Garden centres will be able to advise on suitable non-weedy species for local growing conditions.
For more information visit weedbusters.org.nz
-Supplied by Waikato Regional Council.
Tui dinning out on cherry tree fruit.