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Just do it!

Success! 615 South Titirangi Road now essentially ‘weed free’

by Sandra Gorter

Two years ago I decided to clear my property of noxious weeds. Near the end there was a patch alongside the fence to my neighbour’s bush that was clearly coming in from her side of the fence and when I looked over I decided that all I needed was to clear that patch and my property would be safe from reinfection from her weeds.

My neighbour is elderly and weeding her own bush wasn’t an option, but I get considerable enjoyment from looking at her mature kauri and totara so I offered to do it myself. That ‘great idea’ led to a two-year project so that today, her property is essentially clear of ginger, climbing asparagus, and trades canthis.

My method was to find a place to start and just do it – in this case the area alongside my fence, and to start there. I aimed for three bags of weeds each time which took around about two hours to gather, and put them in a black composting bag kindly supplied by Vicki Sargisson via Auckland Council. I only worked on it when the weather was inviting and I needed a break from my work on the computer - in other words, when I felt like it, which was about every 2-3 months or so.

After a year the first bag was full despite the effects of composting and I began using a wool bale bag from Bunnings. After two years that one is also full. Lucky we’re at the end of the big clean up and they will only have to deal with the weeds of an occasional ‘going over’ now.

Trades canthis was the biggest weed by quantity, but it was the climbing asparagus popping up, under the kauri and totara closest to my property that were the real worry. Initially I pulled them out but they kept coming back – a waste of my time and potentially a real threat from this blanketing weed. I came across the recipe for vinegar, epsom salts and dishwash detergent and had a go with that. Total success, even when using vinegar from the supermarket.

The ginger had been treated four years prior but was now flourishing in the shelter of other weeds. Anja Hennig came in and got that for me with cut and paste. A tenacious shoot happened to show itself while I was spraying the monbretia with the vinegar spray so I got it at the same time and it seems to have gone for the moment.

Monbretia looks sick after spraying with vinegar but not completely dead.

The totara were suffering from too much possum attention so with Bruce’s help we put up an A12 trap. Only two so far. I can hear others in the night and the trees still show evidence of scratching from possums.

Two years on and the 1200 square metres or so of bush is essentially clear of weeds.

Today I went over to clear a patch that I thought needed a second going over for trades canthis and found instead, that what looked like trades canthis regrowth at a distance, was in fact young mahoe coming through. Mission not quite accomplished as, with all gardening, you need to go back to get the stragglers but her property is now essentially weed free and now I’ll only have to go through perhaps in spring and autumn for a couple of hours each time, to get new weed growth coming through.

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