Horseshoe Island almost weed-free again.

On Saturday 9th June five Whangateau HarbourCare members cleared weeds from Horseshoe Island, removing a years growth of gorse, wattle seedlings and South African ice plant.  A few nasturtium seedlings and young fleabane plants were also removed.  The island is now as free from weeds as it has ever been in recent years.

Last year we removed a big patch of ice plant which was encroaching on the nesting area of variable oytercatchers.  We took out 1.5 cubic metres of the stuff, but this year there were only three small plants of regrowth which fitted into one bag.

The job was done in about an hour and a half.  We were accompanied by the odd light shower and a spectacular rainbow in the late afternoon.

We have a small dilemma in that someone has planted a Norfolk pine seedling which is now about three years old.  Some of us feel that this is an inappropriate plant on the island but we welcome other opinions.  We are reluctant to remove it without some debate.

There is also some invasive Paspalum vaginatum, an aggressive spreading grass often used on golf courses, growing on the sandy area to the south.  This is salt-tolerant and can compete with native salt marsh vegetation.   A decision needs to be made as to whether we try to eliminate it, which would almost certainly require the use of chemical sprays.

An intense rainbow arched over Horseshoe Island as we attacked the weeds.

Len gets stuck in to grubbing out gorse. Good to get these out before the flowers set a new batch of seeds.

Terry uses a sharp shovel to dig up gorse by the roots.

Elise bags the last of the South African ice plant.

The weed-busting team in the afternoon sun. From left, Len, Terry, Karen and Elise, and behind the camera Roger.

A dilemma! What do we do with the Norfolk pine seedling??? Comments please.



  1. Unless the photographed Norfolk Pine was self sown it was most likely planted by one of our own species.Im reminded in this rumination on the words of Confucius,”If you think in terms of 10 years plant trees, if in terms of 100 years teach the people’. Sadly the well intentioned efforts of the Arborist runs counter to latest best practice teaching, i would suggest that the norfolk goes and is replaced by a native,this would suggest that your thinking is covering short and long term, not a sin . Not to die for though .

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