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Published: 2003-11-26 00:00:00

The growing popularity of gully sections in Hamilton City is helping tackle the city’s plant pests.

The city is having fewer problems with plant pests such as privet, woolly nightshade and alligator weed – but new ones are popping up as trouble makers, Hamilton Plant Pest Officer Carolyn Lewis told this week’s Environment Waikato Biosecurity Committee meeting.

Fewer calls were being received about private land with privet problems, she said.

Woolly nightshade was still occurring in areas, but alligator weed was only appearing in small plots especially where there was new housing development in the north of the city.

Since two new streets were being developed every month in Hamilton there was substantial movement of soil around the city which was also moving plant pests.

The increasing popularity of gully restoration with Hamilton City Council backing was dealing with many problem weeds which emerged from the time when gullies were dump sites. Eco-sourced trees were now available at cost and there was a free tree scheme for people who were wanting to restore gullies.

Over 200 private projects were already underway, and an holistic approach was paying off in making gully sections more desirable, she said.

Those weeds increasing in frequency included moth plant – which only appeared in a handful of sites five or six years ago. It was easily recognisable in its pod stage but became less obvious later. Mignonette vine needed to be tackled over the next year and cathedral bells, which had not been a serious problem, needed to be worked on before it escalated, she said.

Pest plants which remained in a static state included nassella tenuissima, a grassy weed which was being spread around gardens, old man’s beard and wild ginger which was appearing in small areas after big sites had been dealt with. Pampas is now a plant pest within the city and landowners who have this plant need to take action to remove it.