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Friendly alternatives to pest plants

17 November, 2005


Gardeners offered friendly alternatives to pest plants

DOC biodiversity technical support officer Katrina Spencer with a “bouquet” of the weedy species arum lily, and wandering willie (Tradescantia), which is classified as an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act and banned from distribution, commercial sale and propagation. They both feature in the book Plant me instead which offers environmentally-friendly alternatives to pest plants and potential pest plants. Photo: Sue Galbraith/DOC.
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Gardeners can exchange a weed for a native plant at the November 26 launch of a multi-agency book promoting environmentally friendly alternatives to pest plants and potential pest plants in the lower North Island.

Plant Me Instead steers gardeners away from more than 70 invasive plants that have already escaped or could escape and threaten native flora, encouraging them to plant native and non weedy exotic species instead. Based on a similar publication produced by the Auckland Regional Council, the Wellington guide combines the efforts of DOC, Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Councils, a number of lower North Island territorial authorities, the Nursery and Garden Industry Association and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Sciences, with support from the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network.

To celebrate the launch of the book, in Wellington’s Civic Square on Saturday, November 26, they are giving out a native seedling to each person who brings along one small garden weed for disposal. Around 1000 native plants have been donated by Wellington City Council and other organisations. Around 250 plants will be given out every hour, on the hour, between 10am and 1pm.

“Plant supplies are limited so people need to be in quick to ensure they don't miss out,” says DOC Wellington Conservancy botanist John Sawyer, who co-ordinated the book’s production.

Copies of the book will be on sale at a discount price and plant experts will be on hand to offer advice to gardeners about environmentally friendly species. Woody Weed will also be there to highlight the havoc weeds wreak on our natural environment.

John Sawyer says nearly all weeds in New Zealand are garden escapees. On average 12 garden plant species a year become naturalised in the wild.

“The weeds in this book have the potential to replace native species in the wild and, in some cases, entire native plant communities. The best way to prevent your garden from being a source of weeds is to grow plants that won’t become pests.”

Plant me instead complements other Wellington region multi-agency brochures, Destroy bad berries, Weedbusting and Don't dump brochures, and the weed control work being undertaken by these agencies. It can be purchased from a number of Wellington bookshops or garden centres, retailing for around $9.95.

ENDS

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