Leigh Valley restoration efforts under threat in 2018

Asparagus Scandens threat to restoration efforts

Our strategy for 2018 has changed with the discovery of a large area of climbing asparagus (Asparagus scandens) on the ridge at the top of the Mt Pleasant Drive side of the valley. This plant has become more apparent in the area over the last few years and, if not controlled, will prove to be a huge threat to our restoration efforts.

We went to work attacking this climbing weed which involved going on our hands and knees and digging out clumps of tuberous roots and hundreds of smaller plants. The next day we carried out spot spraying. Further spraying will be required. We also discovered a number of established banana passionfruit vines covered with ripening fruit, large tobacco plants and plenty of moth plants.

After an unproductive year in 2017 due partly to the weather and also because of various family issues, we hope to make further progress with our plan to intensify our pest control efforts. A track was formed in November last year so we can extend our trap/bait line and we visited this for the first time over the summer holiday period. We spent 5 hours clearing this new track and attacking the many weeds we encountered en route. Unfortunately the track is very steep in parts and not ideal for the average volunteer to access safely. We may need to use it for contractors to carry out pest plant control instead and look at repositioning the bait line.

The stoats have made their presence felt with two being spotted in 2 days (or perhaps it was the same stoat). One popped up from under our deck chasing a small rabbit. It stopped for a second and retreated after I screamed loudly!