Date: 12 September 2012
Conservation Week kicked off in Wellington on Sunday with DOC’s annual Weed Swap at Waitangi Park. Over 500 native plants were given away in exchange for a range of nasty garden weeds.
“Despite the fierce winds, we had a great turnout of enthusiastic people eager to learn about identifying and eradicating weeds,” said Department of Conservation weed expert Ann Thompson. “Everyone was able to walk away with a raised awareness of invasive pest plants and their threat to native New Zealand ecosystems, as well as a free native plant.”
This event, organised by DOC and Wellington City Council, helps keep track of weeds in Wellington by having local ecologists identify and record each type of weed species brought in to the Weed Swap. Expert advice was provided by DOC, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council.
The most common weeds brought in by gardeners were Wandering Willie (Tradescantia fluminensis), Woolly Nightshade (Solanum mauritianum), Pellitory of the Wall (Parietaria judaica), Old Man’s Beard (Clematis vitalba), and Puha (Sonchus oleraceus). Some particularly bad weeds brought in were Climbing Asparagus (Asparagus scandens) and Cathedral Bells (Cobawa scandens), which both grow very quickly and smother other species.
Weed Swap participant Todd Spencer said, “The Weed Swap is a wonderful idea. My knowledge and my daughter’s knowledge of plants and weeds has increased. It got my daughter, Lily, excited about the outdoors.”
Weeds are invading and threatening our native ecosystems and there are now more exotic plant species wild in New Zealand than there are natives, with at least 20 new species recorded wild each year.
“Weed swaps help encourage people to identify, eradicate and dispose of weeds responsibly,” said Thompson.
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