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Getting to the root of the problem
ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

Getting to the root of the problem

Our gardens are wonderful places to spend our summer days and evenings. As much as we love our gardens, they can also contain unwanted plant visitors. 

While not all introduced plants are invasive, those that are have a harmful impact on the wider natural environment and on human and animal health.

These plants’ growth and spreading is exacerbated by people dumping plant material and by manu/birds eating and spreading the seeds of these invasive species. Three-quarters of New Zealand’s problem weeds are garden escapees or plants that have been dumped at parks, reserves, beaches, lakes and rivers. Many weeds, such as tradescantia, grow from small fragments and are easily spread from dumped piles.

Only a handful of invasive weed species have ever been successfully eradicated from Aotearoa New Zealand. Once weeds get established here, they are very expensive and difficult to get rid of entirely.

Weeds change or destroy habitats, making it difficult for native plants and animals to survive. They reduce the availability of food and breeding sites for animals and either smother or outcompete our native plants. They also don’t just grow in your garden and can be found in freshwater, wetlands, coastal habitats, lowland forest, shrubland and native grasslands.

Because there are such a range of invasive weed species, there are many ways to get rid of them from your garden. Some of these are digging them out, using herbicides or shading them out.

Seven tips for controlling weeds from the Weedbusters website are:

  1. Find out what weeds you’re dealing with first. Ask for expert help.
  2. Start small. Avoid creating large, cleared areas which often allow new and different weeds to establish.
  3. Plan your control and work in stages. Tackle outlying weed patches first to slow the rate of weed spread before starting on the worst areas. Replace weeds with natives or non-weedy plants as you go.
  4. If your weeds need chemical control, contact Weedbusters Near You to find out the best herbicide to use and how to apply it. You may need permission or qualifications to use herbicide on public land.
  5. Destroy weeds before they fruit or seed to prevent a new generation of weeds growing inside your working area.
  6. When shifting dead weeds take care not to spread any seeds or fragments around that could grow again.
  7. Decide on the best disposal method to use before you start, particularly if working in a large area.

The Weedbusters website is a fantastic place to get information. They’ll be able to help you identify weed species and the best method of control. By controlling weeds in your garden, you help to prevent the spread of them to green spaces around you and therefore ensure that our native species have a safe place to call home.

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