07 November 2005
Christmas Wish For More Native Mistletoe
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The annual effort over the Christmas season to save New Zealand's native mistletoe starts again at Lake Okareka in the
Bay of Plenty this month.
The area, plagued by weeds and possum activity, has seen a welcome recovery in threatened native mistletoe over the last
several years, largely thanks to efforts by weedbusting volunteers led by the Rotorua Botanical Society, with support
from the Department of Conservation and Environment Bay of Plenty's Environmental Enhancement Fund.
Two reserves at the Lake have large populations of a native green mistletoe species Tupeia antarctica, and smaller
populations of another green mistletoe species Ileostylus micranthus. Both reserves are under threat from weed
infestations and possum browsing.
Local DOC Weedbusters Coordinator Sarah Crump says volunteers over the last several years have painstakingly cleared
weeds, and have planted new host trees for native mistletoe.
Christmas Wish for Mistletoe Add 1
"Volunteers have already planted further mistletoe host trees in September (mainly five finger, tree lucerne, and
kohuhu) to replace exotic weed species that have been dominating the area," Ms Crump says.
"Last spring more than 500 mistletoe host trees were planted. These enjoyed a high rate of survival, and in September
this year, volunteers planted a further 100 host trees to supplement last year's plantings," she says.
"For long-term success, we need volunteers on Saturday 19th November to help clear spring re-growth of weeds around new
plantings and existing mistletoe host trees. There will be activities suitable for all ages and abilities, and we
welcome any new volunteers to join this very important effort to retain our native mistletoe," Ms Crump says.
The main weed problems around the plantings are bindweed, Japanese honeysuckle, jasmine and wild turnip. In the wider
area, the group is also continuing to tackle a range of other weeds including wattles, tradescantia, wild cherries, ivy
Ms Crump says that, happily, blackberry is no longer a problem in this area because of previous control efforts.
The volunteer day will begin at 8.45am opposite the old Okareka store and fire station. For more information, contact
Paul Cashmore on (07) 349 7432 (work) or (07) 348 4421 (home).
Weedbusters is supported by NZ Landcare Trust, Landcare Research, Biosecurity New Zealand, Nursery and Garden Industry
Association, Federated Farmers NZ, New Zealand Biosecurity Institute, Department of Conservation, Plant Protection
Society, Biodiversity New Zealand, and all regional councils and unitary authorities.