I do really enjoy doing Seedy Sunday Kapiti. There is just so much reward from these community gardener meetings. There are the interesting things people bring in for the swap table, the stories, the great speakers. But most of all it’s just the chance to chat and learn from locals. We had a small turn out today-I blame fine weather, winter colds, school holidays and our spate of earthquakes-but it doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm as I meet such great people and learn so much.
Thanks to everyone who came and special thanks to Darryl for all the interesting info and handouts, Diane for helping out, and Stacey for organising the event and baking cake – you are legendary!
(Note: I forgot to actually upload this post to the website after the event in July. I’m a bit slow at the moment… Sorry)
Darryl Kee works for Greater Wellington Regional Council trying to keep the region’s weeds under control. There’s a lot of misinformation about weeds. Different regions have different rules and unfortunately agapanthus are not on any banned lists. Some of the interesting snippets I took away from his talk:
- Don’t get into neighbour disputes over weeds – check the facts first.
- Waikanae and Eastbourne are the epicentres of weeds in Greater Wellington. If they want to know if a weed is in the region, they check there first as new species start to appear in the rivers and parks
- There are about 30,000 species of plants in New Zealand, 2-3,000 of them are natives. But there are only about 200 that are not allowed.
- What isn’t allowed is in the National Pest Plant Accord. Propagation, distribution and sale of these 150 species are prohibited. You can however, have them in your garden. You can see what’s on that list here, or order a printed copy.
- All plants can be controlled manually – it all comes down to time and effort.
- Good reminder that organic chemicals are still dangerous to use and require the same care as things like Round-up. The organic sprays are really hard on the rubber seals in spray equipment and need to be cleaned immediately.
- Most chemical sprays don’t work well in home gardens as they are working around lots of other plants. Seed banks lying dormant underground for years also make work clearing weeds very difficult.
- GWRC are starting to see a larger number of bird-spread weeds – one of the signs of effective pest management. Everything has a consequence.
- Biological agents are being used in the fight against many weed species. For example, 3 different species of bug are busy munching their way through Tradescantia (Neolema ogloblini, Neolema abbreviata and Lema basicostata). These ‘agents’ can work well but are a slow process, especially in cooler regions.
- Climbing dock is the most popular weed brought into organised community weed swaps.
- There was also an interesting chat about flood control and bank stabilisation. Willows and poplars are the go to planting for this but there has been interesting research into getting swathes of ribbonwood, cabbage tree and flax established over a 5 year period.
Pest Plants of the Wellington Region
There is an excellent booklet on this available here (will post link soon – server seems to be out maybe #eqnz)
There are four categories of weeds in the Wellington region
Total control – You can’t plant these
GWRC will control any of these weeds on your land for free. Call them on 0800 496 734
African feathergrass Pennisetum macrourum
Bathurst bur Xanthium spinosum
Blue passionflower Passiflora caerulea
Climbing spindleberry Celastrus orbiculatus
Eelgrass Vallisneria spiralis and V. gigantea
Madeira vine Anredera cordifolia
Manchurian wild rice Zizaniz latifolia
Moth plant Araujia sericifera
Perennial nettle Urtica dioica and subspp
Saffron thistle Carthamus lanatus
Woolly nightshade Solanum mauritianum
Regional surveillance – Please don’t plant these
GWRC needs to know where these plants are so they can be monitored for any future control work.
African fountain grass Pennisetum setaceum
Alligator weed Alternanthera philoxeroides
Apple of Sodom Solanum linnaeanum
Asiatic knotweed Reynoutria japonica and hybrids
Australian sedge Carex longebrachiata
Bomarea Bomarea caldassii, B. multiflora
Californian arrowhead Sagittaria montevidensis
Californian bulrush Schoenoplectus californicus
Chilean flamecreeper Tropaeolum speciosum
Chilean needle grass Nassella neesiana
Chinese pennietum Pennisetum alopecuroides
Chocolate vine Akebia quinata
Delta arrowhead Sagittaria platyphylla
Giant knotweed Reynoutria sachalinensis and hybrids
Hawaiian arrowhead Sagittaria sagittifolia
Houttuynia Houttuynia cordata
Nassella tussock Nassella trichotoma
Noogoora bur Xanthium occidentale
Polypodium Polypodium vulgare
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Senegal tea Gymnocoronis spilanthoides
Spartina Spartina spp.
White edged nightshade Solanum marginatum
Containment – Please don’t plant these
GWRC will control these weeds in specific areas. Any questions call them on 0800 496 734
Boneseed Chrysanthemoides monilifera
Evergreen buckthorn Rhamnus alaternus
Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum
Sweet pea shrub Polygala myrtifolia
Site-led human health and boundary control – Please don’t plant these
These weeds are so widespread throughout the Wellington region that boundary control by landowners is considered the only option. They must be cleared by landowners back to specified distances from a neighbouring property when a complaint is made to the GWRC.
Banana passionfruit Passiflora mixta, P.mollissima, P.tripartita
Cathedral bells Cobaea scandens
Gorse Ulex europaeus
Nodding thistle Carduus nutans
Old man’s beard Clematis vitalba
Ragwort Senecio jacobaea
Variegated thistle Silybum marianum
Wild ginger Hedychium gardnerianum, H. flavescens
Blackberry Rubus spp. (barbed cultivars)
Hemlock Conium maculatum
Want to know more about weeds in NZ?
You can also take a look at A key for the identification of environmental weeds in New Zealand from Landcare Research.
All you need to know about the biological control of weeds also from Landcare Research.
Weedbusters national weed awareness programme.
And there is an excellent booklet called Plant me instead.