Talk to Paul Peterson, Xtreme Waste Special Ops person, for any length of time about the invasiveness of weeds and you begin to appreciate just how wired for survival they are.
Weeds he explains are not just a problem in the home garden.
They present a direct threat to our native bush as well where their creeping natures sees them climbing up and over the bush canopy blocking life-giving light from the natives.
“Our natives get overrun and it doesn’t take long for it to happen”, says Paul, pointing to the edge of a stand of native bush bordering Xtreme Waste’s depot where a small native is losing the battle completely shrouded under a virulent creeper.
Helping gardeners to get weeds successfully out of home gardens and managing their disposal so they don’t creep back is a key reason behind the current trees for weeds project at Xtreme Waste. Supported by the Department of Conversation and Waikato Regional Council the project gives Raglan residents the chance to dispose of their trailor loads of weeds at no cost and for their trouble get information about effectively managing weeds as well as a native tree to plant.
More than 70% of plants introduced to New Zealand subsequently escape the captivity of the home garden plot and go on to invade native bush. Weeds will race along fence lines and road sides heading for the hills.
“We don’t want noxious weeds to enter our green waste system. They have to go into landfill so they are not reintroduced back into the community. Raglan firm Weedbusters are helping us with this.” says Paul.
Managing weeds through conversation is always better than any other management plan.
Among the worst offenders are species such as Climbing Doc, Kikuyu Grass, Bamboo roots, Wild Ginger, Convulvulus, Oxalis and Wandering Willy.
Xtreme Waste has decided to extend the weed swap project and will continue to give native trees away until stocks runs out.