Christmas galls ready to hang on trees

Horizons Regional Council have gall mite infested broom bundles available for landowners to collect to help in the fight against the weed known as broom. 

Horizons’ pest plant coordinator Craig Davey says broom is a major problem within the Manawatū-Whanganui Region, and is chronic for overtaking pasture growth.
“Broom gets a foothold in untended areas and biological control is best for those not easily sprayed, such as steeper hill country or retired areas you’d rather not let fill up with broom,” says Mr Davey. 
“Thanks to a bio-control agent, the broom gall mite, we now have bundles of broom that have been infested available to provide to landowners who are struggling with the pest plant.
“This particular gall mite is microscopic and only eats broom. We’ve had them in the region for six years and are pleased to say they’re beginning to do their job exceptionally well.
“These mites create big ugly galls, or growths, on the plant which stunts growth and eventually kills it. This is due to the plant sending all of its energy into fighting the galls instead of actually growing.”
Horizons staff will be at six locations around the region on Tuesday 18 December, from 8am until 1pm for farmers or urban landowners, to receive the ‘Christmas galls’.
“Not only will tying these infested broom plants to healthy broom branches help to eventually kill them off, the gall mites will struggle to locate from plant to plant. By moving them around manually we’re making gains in the long term, as they’ll be covering a wider area,” explains Mr Davey.
“We do have a limited amount of these bundles so it is a first in, first served basis. However, if anyone misses out on the day we will have more bundles later next year and will be operating a waiting list.”
The six locations to collect Christmas galls on Tuesday 18 December from 8am-1pm are:

  • Horizons’ Office, 34 Maata Street, Taumarunui
  • The Big Carrot, Ohakune
  • Horizons’ Office, 243 Wairanu Road, Taihape
  • Horizons’ Office, 181 Guyton Street, Whanganui
  • Horizons’ Office, 19-21 Hammond Street, Marton
  • Horizons’ Office, Cnr of Tay and Hammond Streets, Woodville