What is the problem with Taiwan Cherry?05/09/2019 9:03am
It is now illegal to sell, propagate or distribute Taiwan cherry in the Tasman-Nelson region.
People often ask why we are trying to eradicate Taiwan Cherry (Prunus campanulata) from our local environment, as it appears to be a pretty tree that provides food for birds and insects. The reason it is treated as a pest is because it quickly dominates and destroys our native trees and ecosystems.
We appreciate that these trees are attractive and that they draw in tui and bees, but these benefits are far outweighed by the disastrous ecological impacts this tree will have on our indigenous scrubland and forest ecosystems if left to spread. We have a chance to control it now – otherwise it will start to take over some of our native habitats and impact on our biodiversity. We need the support and cooperation of our local communities to achieve this goal.
Taiwan cherry is a deciduous species of cherry tree native to Taiwan. It’s a relative newcomer to the Tasman-Nelson region, with the first trees being introduced during the mid-1960s. It’s been a popular garden exotic over the last 20 years.
From late July through to early September, mature trees produce thousands of dark pink flowers that attract pollinators such as bees and tui.
The fruit is eagerly sought by birds such as wax eyes, starlings, blackbirds and native pigeons, which spread them to other areas. Other animals, such as possums and pigs may also spread the seed in the same manner. The seeds have a particularly high germination rate which makes it easy for them to compete with native seedlings.
A local example
In Dodson Valley in north Nelson, Taiwan cherry spread at an alarmingly rapid rate from one single tree in a private garden to the surrounding hillsides, where it took over the native vegetation. This infestation has been bought under control by contractors at considerable expense, so that native trees can once again establish.
What can you do?
We’re asking people to let us know if they see a Taiwan Cherry tree growing, or know where they have been planted in the past where seedlings may still be germinating. If there has been a tree in your area, keep any eye out and let us know if you see any young seedlings. You’ll find info on how to control the trees on our website.
To report a Taiwan cherry tree or for further information phone or email the Tasman District Council or the Nelson City Council.
Tasman - Ph 03 543 8400, or visit tasman.govt.nz
Nelson - Ph 03 546 0200, or visit nelson.govt.nz