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 weed­

-Sup­plied by Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.


Tui din­ning out on cherry tree fruit.

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