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Aussie Promoter Touts Dirty Weekend

A weedy Aussie import will be encouraging gardeners to have a 'dirty weekend in their own backyard' during October.

Nichola Davies of MAF Biosecurity NZ ensures that Woody Weed is kept under control at the border

This third Woody Weed mascot will join his cloned counterparts who are already in New Zealand as part of the interagency Weedbusters programme.

Weedbusters aims to get people tackling invasive plant species in their communities. Woody Weed will be appearing at various events around the country during October as part of the Weedbusters 'Dirty Weekend' campaign.

"October is traditionally when people shake off the winter blues and spend time spring cleaning their garden," says national Weedbusters coordinator, Carolyn Lewis.

"It's also a perfect time to get rid of environmentally damaging ornamental species and replace them with enviro-friendly alternatives," says Ms Lewis.

Most of New Zealand's weed species started out as garden ornamentals that 'jumped the fence' and invaded natural areas, causing environmental damage. While a few are spread only by the dumping of garden waste, many are spread by birds, wind and water, and are well adapted to moving into new areas without human assistance.

"There were now around the same number of introduced plant species growing wild in New Zealand as there are native plant species, and the introduced species continue to naturalise at an alarming rate," says Ms Lewis.

"One of the best ways we as individuals can combat this is to take responsibility for what is growing in our own backyards. In many cases, weedy species in gardens continue to be the seed sources reinfesting local parks and reserves, bush areas, wetlands, and other natural areas."

Various events are being planned around the country, and a national garden makeover competition will be run to encourage gardeners to make their properties weedfree.

Weedbusters is an interagency effort supported by regional authorities and unitary authorities, and other organisations such as Biosecurity New Zealand, Biodiversity New Zealand, Landcare Research, Federated Farmers, NZ Landcare Trust, Nursery and Garden Industry Association, NZ Biosecurity Institute, and the NZ Plant Protection Society.

More information about Weedbusters is available at www.weedbusters.org.nz


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