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Published: 2006-07-25 00:00:00

Raglan Weedbusters is encouraging locals to swap their garden weeds for free native plants on Saturday 5 August.

The group is hoping lots of Raglan people will get behind its drive to stamp out environmental pests like woolly nightshade, wild ginger and climbing asparagus.

“We’re looking for any weeds that impact on the environment and threaten native biodiversity like boneseed, moth plant and pampas,” said Environment Waikato Weedbusters coordinator Wendy Mead.

“Please note common weeds that grow in your paddock like ragwort and thistles don’t fall into this category.”

So drop into the Waikato District Council Raglan offices on Saturday 5 August from 9.30am to noon and trade your rubbish sacks of weeds for eco-sourced native plants.

Environment Waikato, Waikato District Council and the Department of Conservation are providing the free plants.

Environment Waikato chair Jenni Vernon encouraged the community to get involved.

“Weeds like jasmine, privet and boneseed are becoming increasingly invasive in urban areas and we really want to work with individual communities to get rid of these pests because they are a real issue,” she said.

“It’s great to see a project encouraging responsible disposal of weeds, because dumping them on the side of the road is not acceptable.”

Anyone who can’t make it on Saturday can call (07) 825 8129 and arrange to drop off their weeds at another time during Conservation Week, August 7-11.

Wendy said weeds were one of the biggest threats to New Zealand’s native plants and animals.

“In New Zealand we have around 2000 introduced plant species that have gone wild, which is about the same number of native plant species we have. There are about 300 species of environmental weeds in New Zealand and this number is expected to increase at a rate of 2-4 per year.”

For more information please contact Wendy Mead at Environment Waikato on 0800 800 401, or Steve Soanes at Waikato District Council on (07) 825 8129.

Don’t forget to check out the weed display at Waikato District Council offices and if you have any questions about weeds, help is available on 0800 BIOSECURITY.