No more grassing on Okupu Bay

Publish Date : 19 Apr 2024
Okupu Planting OA

More than 150 natives planted in November 2023 are thriving in Okupu thanks to a new approach to weed control.

Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board allocated $25,000 towards the Okupu Beach Reserve stream restoration project.

Kikuyu, an invasive grass species which can smother natives, is the main pest weed identified in the area where planting took place.

As an alternative to using herbicides, heavy duty black plastic was placed over planting areas for several months to kill kikuyu by starving it of light. Biodegradable jute matting was then laid down prior to planting to slow kikuyu and other weeds re-establishing.

“We’re grateful that this riparian planting project has been able to go ahead as a community led project,” says local board chair Izzy Fordham.

“It’s exciting to see a spray-free method of weed control working well at the reserve.”

The seaside reserve is now home to plenty of young natives including harakeke (flax), tī kōuka (cabbage tree), kawakawa, karo and karaka. Raupō (bullrush) has been transplanted from the north of the island and is growing successfully either side of the boardwalk.

Describing the weed control method, George Wilson from on-island contractors Envirokiwi explains that the jute matting degrades within a year or two.

“By the time it degrades, the new vegetation will be big enough to be above the kikuyu and shade it out.”

Local volunteers have been weeding kikuyu from around the edges of the weed mat to get the best results. The plants are doing well thanks to these efforts and good soil and moisture levels.

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