The muck rakes and shovels were out in force at Rossett Nature Reserve on Saturday (15 October 2016) as a team of council staff and volunteers cleared the pond of a very stubborn succulent called Crassula.
The plant, originally a native of New Zealand and Australia, grows rapidly and is extremely invasive. It forms a dense mat of vegetation which blocks out natural light and can starve a pond of oxygen, making it unsuitable for the creatures that would normally inhabit it.
The pond at Rossett Nature Reserve is home to the Great Crested Newt, so to prevent damage to its habitat, Countryside Ranger Sam Walker, along with the Rossett Local Nature Reserve Friends Group and Harrogate Borough Council’s Conservation Volunteers, set about ridding the pond of the plant.
Having removed the Crassula, the team then buried it – which is the best way of ensuring that the plant, which is notoriously difficult to eradicate, doesn’t survive.
Countryside Ranger Sam Walker said:
It took seven of us three hours to dig up the Crassula, and we had to dig a large hole to bury it – hopefully we’ve managed to get out as much as possible.
We’re not altogether sure how the Crassula ended up at the reserve but it may well have come from something as innocent as a goldfish bowl being emptied out by a well-meaning member of the public – which highlights how important it is not to transfer plants or animals between ponds.