Dunedin City Council and the Town Belt

24 04 2008

Old Man's Beard in flower

Scott Maclean is the parks officer for the Dunedin City Council and he manages all the bush reserves in the city. He says the town belt is his favourite area especially just below Prospect Park where there are a lot of native ferns and fern trees, and Woodhaugh Gardens which is mostly native bush. Scott says the town belt was fairly neglected for about thirty years, in terms of management. A couple years ago, a detailed study of the ecology of the town belt was done, and now the city is actively managing the area by getting rid of noxious weeds and some Sycamore trees (which create a hostile environment for native plants and trees), and trapping possum.

One of the worst weed offenders is a clematis vine called Old Man’s Beard which is not very easy to spot until it flowers in autumn. He is quite busy pulling it out all over the greenbelt right now because it will overtake the canopy and kill trees by shading out the sun in a fairly short time. Even when it flowers, it is tricky to find. He can see it from a distance, from somewhere high above the green belt, but then he has to go into the bush and find exactly where it is to rip it out. So if you see it in the town belt, and here is a photo, contact the DCC and let them know where.




One response

26 06 2008
Scott Maclean DCC

Old Mans Beard (Clematis vitalba) should not be confused with the stunning native Clematis, C. paniculata. The easiest way to distinguish the two is the time of flowering. The native Clematis flowers in spring through early summer whilst the invasive Old Mans Beard flowers early autumn and sets it’s feathery seed from late autumn and persists throughout winter. While we do our best to find OMB and treat it, I rely on Dunedin residents informing me of the presence of OMB whenever or where ever they see it. In a nutshell, if you see fluffy seedheads growing on top of the bush in winter call me! 477 4000

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