Warm and wet weather creates excellent conditions for Snells Beach gardens, however the subtropical climate is also perfect for introduced weeds, such as invasive boneseed.
During a low tide walk along the shoreline from Sandspit to Algies Bay there are numerous clusters of boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera) thriving in slips, beside creeks, in beachside reserves and bush. Once boneseed’s distinct yellow flower catches your attention, you’ll notice it everywhere – even on privately-owned native bush blocks and in the locals’ gardens.
If you want a rewarding lockdown project, getting rid of boneseed at Snells Beach could be the perfect distraction. Look for it on your property or reserves in your neighbourhood. It has been spotted it on private land at the top of Arabella Lane, Puriri Place, and coastal areas from Rangimaarie Crescent to Fidelis Avenue.
How to remove boneseed?
Small boneseed plants can be pulled out of loose soil, but bigger plants will need to be cut off at the base and the stump should be immediately painted with a cut and paste weed gel.
Ensure you follow health and safety instructions when handling weed gel, and don’t use it when it can get into waterways. Application during dry weather is best.
Leave the removed plants on the site to create shade and reduce new boneseed plants from sprouting when exposed to sunlight.
Keep returning to boneseed sites
You will need to return to the sites where you have removed boneseed because dormant seeds will germinate to refill vacant spots. Boneseed eradication is not a short-term project and like all weeding – you will need to be determined to make significant impact.
Replanting in former boneseed sites
Ideally, appropriate native plants would be put into areas where boneseed is eradicated. This is a work-in-progress for Snells Shoreline Conservation Community, while we research the native plants that should naturally occur in the areas that boneseed has invaded.
Enhancing the natural biodiversity of the shoreline has multiple benefits to the overall health of Kawau Bay.
Will Auckland Council remove boneseed?
Boneseed is recognised as a plant pest that Auckland Council manages with sustained control.
“The intention of the sustained control programme is to reduce the spread of a pest and their impacts to protect the values of Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland.”
Snells Shoreline Conservation Community has approached Auckland Council for advice and support but while we wait for their recommendations, community volunteers can remove boneseed on easily accessed public land.
IMPORTANT: Many of the cliff faces throughout Snells Beach, Algies Bay and Sandspit are very unstable. Do not attempt to climb these to eradicate boneseed.
Why remove boneseed throughout New Zealand?
Boneseed is an invasive plant from South Africa. It was introduced Aotearoa New Zealand as an ornamental plant, and it has escaped from gardens to invade many coastal areas.
It is fast growing and stops New Zealand native plants from regenerating in places such as coastal slips, hillsides and riverbanks. Auckland Council says it can “alter plant community composition through allelopathy and competition, change patterns of nutrient cycling, and promote weeds. Increases fire risk.”
It is spread by birds, possums, wind, flotsam, and innocently by gardeners. Boneseed will spread from Kawau Bay to Tāwharanui Regional Park and Hauturu (Little Barrier), which are highly prized eco-sanctuaries.
Boneseed cannot be left to invade these taonga and it is expensive to eradicate the weed from inaccessible spots.
You can help stop the spread of invasive weeds, now. For more information about New Zealand’s problem weeds visit Weedbusters.