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Published: 2009-05-22 00:00:00

Coromandel residents will have a chance to swap their garden weeds for native plants at two “Weeds 4 Natives” events in June.

The events will be held in Whitianga and Thames, and anyone who brings a rubbish sack or two full of weeds from their garden will get free native trees.

The days have been organised by Environment Waikato, the Department of Conservation, Thames-Coromandel District Council and Waikato Weedbusters.

“We want to help Coromandel people get rid of those garden weeds that can cause serious problems if they get into the environment,” Environment Waikato Coromandel councillor Simon Friar said.

“Plants that look pretty in the garden are often real pests in the wild because they sprout, seed and spread rapidly, smothering natural areas and stopping native seedlings like pohutukawa from growing.

“This is a particular problem when people use sand dunes and public reserves as a dumping ground for compost and garden waste.  Yuccas and other succulents have been found growing on a number of Coromandel beaches recently, and they’re proving difficult to get rid of.”

The Weeds 4 Natives events will run from 10am-2pm at:
· Buffalo Beach Reserve (opposite Jackman Ave), Whitianga, on Saturday June 6
· Kuranui Bay Reserve, Thames, on Sunday June 7.

All weeds will be accepted, but the council is particularly interested in collecting woolly nightshade, wild ginger, moth plant, privet, climbing asparagus, banana passionfruit and pampas.

Residents can also talk to experts about any weed issues they may have.

Anyone wanting more information about Weeds 4 Natives can call Matt Highway on (07) 866 0172 or email him at matthew.highway@ew.govt.nz.

Meanwhile, for information about the best ways to dispose of weeds without harming the environment, people can visit www.weedbusters.org.nz.