Introduction

Wanted! Kāpiti Coast’s and Wellington’s Worst Weeds

Date:  18 March 2013

Members of the public are invited to rummage in their own back yard for the worst weed they can find - and swap it for a free native plant.

The Department of Conservation, Kāpiti Coast District Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council are joining up to offer the Sustainable Home and Garden Show visitors the traditionally popular Weed Swap from 9am to 4pm on Saturday the 23rd of March and 10am to 4pm on Sunday the 24th of March.

Weeds are a huge threat to our native ecosystems, so organisers are urging people to bring their ‘worst weed’, have it identified by weed specialists and choose a free native plant in exchange.

Prizes will be given for the worst weeds!  Common weeds brought into previous weed swaps include Wandering Willie (Tradescantia fluminensis), Woolly Nightshade (Solanum mauritianum), Pellitory of the Wall (Parietaria judaica), and Old Man’s Beard (Clematis vitalba). Some of the nastiest weeds include Climbing Asparagus (Asparagus scandens) and Cathedral Bells (Cobaea scandens), which both grow very quickly and smother other species. These weeds and others 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 provide opportunity for people to directly contribute to helping enhance local ecosystems”, said Clayson Howell, DOC weed ecologist.

“Not only do these events increase knowledge about identifying, controlling and disposing of weeds responsibly, they also provide useful data to help us keep track of weeds in the region.”

Learning how to identify the worst weeds in our own backyards, and replacing them with native or non-invasive alternatives can help our local birds, lizards and invertebrates thrive.

“Kāpiti has its fair share of invasive weeds,” said Kāpiti Coast District Council biodiversity advisor Rob Cross.

“This is a fun way to highlight the problem and offer solutions.”

“Our council battles the same weeds for the same reasons as DOC and Greater Wellington Regional Council. The Home and Garden Show is a chance for the three agencies to unite in getting the community involved,” said Cross.

To find out about Kāpiti Coast’s and Wellington’s worst weeds visit Greater Wellington Regional Council’s website: www.gw.govt.nz/national-pest-plant-programmes

Contact

Elizabeth St John-Ives
Community Relations Ranger
Ph: +64 4  4708409

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