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No horsing around - this is a serious battle with weed ‘nasties’ It will take more than two men with papier mache horse heads on broomsticks to win the battle against weeds but EcoMatters’ Simon Grant and Phil Needle will stop at nothing to lead the charge on War on Weeds. It’s an annual event in the West which sees bins placed in a number of high-profile public sites for the community to dump their invasive weeds. The idea is to help householders eliminate invasive weeds from their gardens, and by extension, control the spread of weeds into Auckland’s West Coast bush. Last year more than 100 tonnes of weeds were collected and while Simon and Phil say that's a significant amount, the weed battle is ongoing. “I think there’s a growing awareness of the weeds that flourish in our area but there are also significant numbers of people moving into the area from other places in New Zealand and overseas and the weeds are just foreign territory to them,” Simon says. “Even people moving out here from central Auckland simply don’t know the weeds that flourish locally. Suddenly they’re living in the ranges and they’re shocked at the weeds taking over their place.” New Zealand has about 3,000 introduced plants that are running wild. Of these 350 are environmental weeds that threaten our gardens and bush.

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Phil trained in the radar a few years ago horticulture in the and now at the top of the UK and admits when list of 'nasties'– starts off he came here a as tiny seedlings which decade ago, he was are easy to remove. confronted with a Leave them for a year or totally different kind so and they become very of flora. “I live locally difficult to get rid of. and was aware of the Kahili ginger is a horror environment around too (don’t be charmed me, but it’s taken me by its pretty looks and a good amount of lovely scent). Its rhizomes time to learn about spread in clumps with it and come to grips thick foliage up to two with it. metres high. It will grow “We all need to pretty much anywhere get out there and and lets nothing else become part of our through its deep root environment, to care Simon Grant and Phil Needle ride to War on mats. Imported to New for it and nurture it. Weeds such as ginger and pampas grass. Zealand in the 1890s as We need to deal with little bits at a time and an attractive garden plant, it escaped and do it often,” he says. grows vigorously throughout the Waitakeres “One or our key things is not to lecture but and other parts of the country. to listen. Everyone has a different story and “There’s a lot of talk and chest beating we’ll listen to those stories and can then guide about weeds but we don’t always deliver on people on how to prioritise what they need to the ground as the funding is not there,” says do,” Simon says. Simon. “It would be great if the programme to “We’re interested in helping people find make Auckland predator and pest free by 2050 simple little things to make their weed included weeds. Weeds are pests too. problems a bit easier.” “It’s a constant battle with them but the bins “Do as much as you can with what time you around West Auckland during War on Weeds have,” says Phil. “If jasmine is starting to climb month is an opportunity for everyone to get all over things, deal with that. If there’s ginger weeds off their land. But we need to keep at that’s starting to prevent the bush growing, get it. Bit by bit. Step by step.” on to that one. Other weeds to look out for include woolly “Deal with the really critical ones. Climbing nightshade, moth plant, Japanese honeysuckle, asparagus and tradescantia have to go but pampas grass, blue morning glory, privet, people can’t do it all at once – it’s a step by plectranthus, agapanthus, brush wattle and step process.” Cape ivy. The War on Weeds programme runs Getting at weeds while they're small is a until the end of March. useful strategy. Climbing asparagus – barely on – Moira Kennedy

1 MARCH TO 31 MARCH 2018 LOCAL WEED BIN SITES FOR WAR ON WEEDS HENDERSON-MASSEY LOCAL BOARD 1 HENDERSON MPHS carpark, 27 Corban Ave 2 TE ATATŪ PENINSULA Harbourview Orangihina, off Gloria Ave 3 MASSEY Massey Library carpark, corner Westgate Drive and Don Buck Road

WAITĀKERE RANGES LOCAL BOARD 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

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SWANSON Central Landscape Supplies, 598 Swanson Road LAINGHOLM Laingholm Hall carpark at 69 Victory Road, opposite Laingholm Primary School PARAU 695 Huia Road, Parau KAURILANDS Konini Primary School, 44 Withers Road TE HENGA Regional Park carpark, next to 110 Te Henga Road PERMANENT WEED BINS TITIRANGI Otitori Bay Road, French Bay carpark PIHA DOMAIN Seaview Road TITIRANGI Tangiwai Reserve carpark, Huia Road HUIA DOMAIN Huia Road WAIMA Corner of Boylan Road and York Road Problems with bins? Go to www.ecomatters.org.nz/war-on-weeds or ORATIA Kauri Loop Rd, next to 734 West Coast Road phone 09 826 4276 ext 402. HENDERSON VALLEY 17 Mountain Road

The Fringe MARCH 2018

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The March Fringe (formerly Titirangi Tatler), a community magazine serving West Auckland.

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The March Fringe (formerly Titirangi Tatler), a community magazine serving West Auckland.

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