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Wild ginger – look out!

An all-out assault on wild ginger in Tairua kicked off this month and property owners are invited to muscle in.

Kahili ginger has scented yellow flowers that may smell appealing but it is a plant that grows voraciously. It has long shallow underground stems called rhizomes that form deep beds, which native plants can’t grow up through. Growing up to three metres tall, it also shades out smaller plants and seedlings, and its seeds are easily spread by birds.

If left unchecked it could permanently replace some of our native plants.

Cherry Ladd and fellow members of the Tairua Parks and Reserves group are encouraging Tairua property owners to check their backyards for kahili ginger and “weed it out” through September.

“While controlling kahili ginger on their property is technically the owner’s responsibility, we’re keen to support the community in working together on tackling this pest plant,” says Cherry.

“One of the things property owners often struggle with is disposal because you can’t compost kahili ginger. So with the help of Waikato Regional Council we’re giving property owners the opportunity to bring small kahili ginger plants and flower heads to us for disposal.”

A collection site where property owners can dispose of kahili ginger will be set up by Waikato Regional Council at the Pepe Reserve car park on 20 September between 9am and 12pm.

Waikato Regional Council’s biosecurity officer Benson Lockhart advises that the process is as simple as:

 

  1. Cutting off the flower heads.
  2. Digging out small plants, making sure all of the root system is removed.
  3. Putting the flower heads and small plants into a plastic bag.
  4. Dropping your bags of flower heads and small plants at the collection point (Pepe Reserve car park, 20 September, 9am-12pm).

“It’s really only possible to remove kahili ginger by hand when the plants are small. So if people discover a large clump I’d encourage them to remove and bag the flower heads and then give me a call, and I’ll help them figure out a plan of attack,” Benson said.

“Kahili ginger isn’t necessarily any worse in Tairua than anywhere else on the peninsula but the community is keen to get stuck into it, which is fantastic.

“Tairua is close to kiwi sanctuaries to the north and this is a plant that forms a dense root mass that prevents kiwi from being able to forage in the soil, so that’s another good reason to get rid of it.”

Factsheets to help property owners recognise this weed will be displayed around the village in the week beginning 8 September and are also available online at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/wild ginger.

For more information, contact Benson Lockhart at Waikato Regional Council’s Whitianga office on 07 866 0172 or freephone 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732).

 

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