May 2019 - A Guided tour of a Biocontrol test site for Tradescantia and Broom and afterwards a walk-through Massey Arboretum
Our May trip was in two parts – the first part was to look at two Landcare Research
biocontrol research plots for tradescantia and broom and then we moved on to visit Massey
On a lovely sunny morning, 10 of us met at the research site and were met by Jack Keast,
Horizons Biosecurity Officer – Plants. Jack first talked to us about biocontrol for our invasive
plants and how they were tested. Then we moved on to the research plot for the
trandescantia leaf beetle. Here we saw how the beetle was damaging the plant which will
eventually lead to the plant dying. We then moved on to see the damage to broom caused
by the broom gall mite. Jack explained at each site how the trandescantia leaf beetle and
broom gall mite worked on the plants and how the biocontrol agents spread. All to soon we
moved to the second part of our trip – Massey Arboretum.
Although right on our doorstep, it was a first for most of us - a visit to the Massey
Arboretum, lying behind Bledisloe Park. Dr. Marion Mackay, Senior Lecturer in Environment
Management, Massey University, led us on a guided walk through the autumn leaves
relating stories and history along the way.
The idea for an arboretum germinated in 1943 but it was only when Dave Bull came on the
scene in the early 1970’s that it really blossomed. As Head Groundsman Dave established
most of the collection from his visits to far off and mysterious places, with a bit of trading
around with other like-minded collectors to get something a little extra. The Arboretum is
certainly an asset to the city.
Peeling bark, winter flowers and autumn colours made for a lovely walk this autumn, but
certainly worth a wander any season."
Text by Anthea McClelland and Vivienne McGlynn