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Weeding becomes a ‘walk in the park’
“Years ago Waiheke was known at the ARC (Auckland Regional Council) as ‘WeedHeke’, with good reason – it was considered to be the weediest place on the planet, second only to Hawaii!
A park ranger on Waiheke Island in Auckland for 16 years and a biosecurity officer for five, when I started working at Whakanewha Regional Park I saw that it would be an enormous job to get the weeds there under control.
Many people on the island wanted me to adopt a chemical-free approach, so I invited them to help, and show me how this would be possible. A few hardy folk turned out and, after a couple of days of hard work, we all realised that we were not going to win our war on weeds that way.
Some areas were beyond salvation; the weeds so outnumbered the natives that the best approach was to hire a mulching tractor, mulch it all to the ground and keep going until the tractor couldn’t fit between the natives to reach the next Chinese privet or cotoneaster or gorse bush without chopping down a native. At this point, the hard work of removing the weeds by hand began.
In the mulched areas we heavily sowed rye grass seed and allowed it to grow thickly through the autumn and winter. Then, in spring, we sprayed the huge growth of weeds with Triclopyr, a broadleaf herbicide which left the grass untouched. The grass then thrived and smothered most further weed growth. The following spring, replanting could begin. It was then quite easy to accomplish and all that was subsequently required was annual hand weeding.
The hand removal of weeds was gruelling and by far the hardest of tasks. Each weed had to be cut and pasted with a herbicide to prevent re-growth then a native planted in its place.
To help solve this problem I really needed a gel herbicide which used a low toxicity form of Glyphosate to make it safer and easier for volunteers. Unable to find such a product on the market, I developed my own. The result was Cut‘n’Paste, a broad spectrum brush on Herbicide.
By killing grass weeds, such as pampass and kikuyu, as well as the mass of climbing and smothering weeds and tree species, including privets, rhamnus and woolly nightshade, Cut‘n’Paste has proved to be a most effective solution.
Although the Whakanewha Regional Park is now looking a treat, there are still many years of weed control ahead; but what a difference we have made!”
Cut‘n’Paste is also ideal for the smallest of backyards; more information about this invaluable product is available at: cutnpaste.co.nz.
Contributed by Andy Spence.