Biosecurity staff at Bay of Plenty Regional Council are pleased with the “impressive haul” of weeds the public have brought to them as part of a pest plant swap programme.
The council has been holding pest plant swaps throughout the region over the spring months, including one at Waihi Beach last month and another to be held in Maketu on November 19, to encourage people to bring a rubbish bag full of pest plants to swap for a native plant.
“We filled up the back of our ute with pest plants at Waihi Beach,” says biosecurity officer Stephanie Bathgate. “Some people brought a big rubbish bag full. I think people are interested because it's a chance to have a chat if they are concerned about any weeds and want to know the best way to get rid of them.”
As well as getting a free native plant, the pest plant swaps mean people don't have to worry about how to dispose of the pest plants, says Stephanie.
“If you're putting in the effort to get rid of these plants and disposing of them in a certain way, only to find they're coming back again, it can be quite disheartening.”
Stephanie says many people dispose of weeds in their compost, however some climber species in particular will shoot new sprouts and take over the compost.
Disposing of pest plants off-site is often the best idea.
“Preferably not over your neighbour's fence, at the end of your road or in a reserve,” adds Stephanie. “Throwing them in a place out of sight and out of mind is not ideal. If people are unsure they can talk to us because some can be composted successfully.”
If you're looking for advice on pest plants you can visit the council website, where there is a pest plant index and information on how to apply for funding for pest control.
If people want to report pest plant sightings, they can call the council on: 0800 STOP PESTS (786 773), email: email@example.com or send a direct message on Facebook.