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War on weeds in Howick

Published: 21 March 2016

Residents in the Howick Local Board area are being encouraged to get tough on Rhamnus and moth plant – fast-spreading weeds smothering our gardens and native plants.

The local board has this year dedicated around $6,000 for awareness raising and practical solutions including free bins for disposal and a free weed-swap day.

Board spokesperson John Spiller says Rhamnus and moth plant are a particular concern at this time.

“Many people see the pictures and are instantly surprised these are noxious weeds causing damage to our gardens and native flora,” says Mr Spiller.   

“It’s around this time moth plants are flowering or fruiting and should be more easily identified. Unfortunately it’s also a time when the pods have hundreds of seeds that can easily disperse.

"The Rhamnus weed on the other hand is less familiar as a harmful weed, probably because of its attractive shiny green leaves and red fruits".

“We’re working with schools, environmental organisations, local businesses and garden clubs to get people talking about it. It’s part of a planned programme that avoids chemical spraying which some residents hold reservations about.”

The programme includes education on how to identify and safely remove invasive weeds, big public bins for people to dispose of the weeds and a weed-swap day with free take-home plants.

Abseiling weed removal was completed this year on the Musick Point cliffs from where the seeds can be blown inland. The board is looking to follow this up in 2018 before any re-established Rhamnus are likely to multiply.

“These are practical measures to support residents safely removing and disposing of these weeds, reducing the chances of further germination. There's also a free fresh plant for the garden I’m sure wouldn’t go amiss,” says Mr Spiller.

Weed disposal bins will be available from 25th of March to the 3rd of April at Murvale Reserve (Bleakhouse Road entrance) and Lloyd Elsmore Park (Bells Road entrance). There will also be a weed swap day on the 2nd of April from 9.30am until 12.00pm at Lloyd Elsmore Park (Bells Road entrance).


The best ways to remove these weeds from your property are:
• Dig out the plant close to the ground including the root system
• Cut and treat the vine or stump with herbicide
• Hand-pull the tree or vine from the ground when the ground is wet or damp.

For more information visit aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/pest, facebook.com/HowickLB, phone 09 301 0101 or email biosecurity@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.