6/11/19 - The already stunning scenery of the Marlborough Sounds is getting a touch-up, with some help from Nelson-headquartered crop protection company ADAMA New Zealand.
ADAMA is donating the chemistry being used in the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust’s flagship project; the eradication of wilding pines. The Trust’s Chair Dr. John Hellstrom says ADAMA are generous supporters and have backed that up with much-appreciated technical support.
Restoring the Sounds since 2003
The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust was founded in 2003 by a group of passionate volunteers with the goal of restoring the Sounds to its natural environment and “Protecting Paradise”. Its aspirations were lofty, but already, John says, the Trust has made noticeable inroads.
John says wilding pines had been replacing natives as the dominant species in the area. This created fire risks, and negatively impacted catchment water flows, and the natural contours and aesthetics of the iconic landscape.
The Trust has worked closely with local landowners, donors and the community. John says it was not difficult to get active support to “reclaim the skyline”. This despite many people initially thinking it was not possible.
The project began in Queen Charlotte Sound and the impact was quickly visible. “Everyone coming from Picton on the ferry could see the pines turning brown.”
Metsulfuron used to kill wilding pines
John says the use of Metsulfuron Herbicide (Metsulfuron), which is drilled into the trees, has been a big improvement on traditional control methods such as ring barking and glyphosate, both of which took much longer and did not achieve the same degree of decomposition of the trees.
“Metsulfuron works in 2-3 weeks, on the branches and pine needles if conditions are right. Then, in 2 or 3 years, all that’s left are the dead trunks.”
The Trust uses only skilled and professional people to do the work. Each tree is treated individually, with workers aided by aerial photos and GPS.