Plan to tackle cotoneaster incursion
Over the last 100 years the hills behind Ohau Village have been quietly invaded.
Cotoneaster is a spreading evergreen shrub with pale bluegreen leaves and abundant scarlet berries from February to August.
The plant was originally used as hedging or in gardens.
The plant’s berries are highly attractive to birds that spread the plant around the landscape, and the plant itself is very hardy and able to tolerate a wide range of soils, shade, moisture and temperature.
In the wild it damages native vegetation by overtopping and eventually replacing shrub species, preventing the establishment of other species apart from weedy vines.
Members of the Lake Ohau Conservation Trust have been aware of this problem for some time.
The group is responsible for a recent successful application to the Department of Conservation (DOC) Community Fund.
This fund will be used over the next three years to spearhead a Cotoneaster eradication project covering the area from the Avoca terraces along the base of the Ohau Range and along the Lake shore.
DOC and Environment Canterbury had also dedicated funds to removing cotoneaster from the top of the Ohau Basin.
Working together with the Waitaki District Council, who owns road reserve land that is also infested with cotoneaster, the Trust, ECan and DOC hope to achieve the eradication of cotoneaster.
The Trust is very pleased to be working alongside the other agencies on this project in a coordinated approach to ridding the area of this plant pest.
Without action on cotoneaster eradication now, the problem will quickly become too large and containment of spread and removal of isolated patches, rather than the aim of eradication, would be the only practical option.
As well as carrying out the control work, the Lake Ohau Conservation Trust are also working to inform local land and section owners about the problem with Cotoneaster and encourage them to look in their own back yards for the pest plant.
They are also offering free plants of more appropriate native species as a replacement for any shrubs that are destroyed in domestic gardens. For more info on the Trust go to: www.ohauconservationtrust.nz
The evergreen shrub or small tree originatied from China and the Himalayas.