Weedbusters declare war on weeds in Whaingaroa

New initiative Whaingaroa Weedbusters is declaring a war on weeds in an effort to regenerate green spaces with native flora.

Greenslade Road Weedbusters co-founder Leanne Steel and Xtreme Zero Waste Organics Yard team lead Liz Stanway launched the initiative at the recent Maui Dolphin Day enlisting neighbourhoods who want to get on top of their noxious weeds. 

“There has been a lot of interest from the community in support of a weed-free Whaingaroa and lots of people marked their weedy properties on our Raglan township map,” Leanne says.

Funding from the Waikato Regional Council will make it possible for the group to run a Whaingaroa Weed Blitz and provide miniskips over weekends through late April, May and June for noxious weed collection around Raglan township. 

The township will be the focus for the group this year, including problem areas around Greenslade Rd, Kaitoke Walkway, Norrie Ave, Lily St and Rose St, and have their sights set on some common Raglan pests – Woolly Nightshade, Wild Ginger, Wandering Willy, Climbing Asparagus, Chinese Privet, and Periwinkle. 

They are looking for property owners or groups of property owners who want to get rid of noxious plants that threaten our natural areas .

“We’re calling on residents, or even better groups of residents, to sign up to this great opportunity so we can make sure everyone who is keen gets a chance to use this service and XZW can cope with the incoming weeds,” Liz says.

Even better still, people who sign up will get a free property check from an ecologist who will give advice on how to take out the weeds, what to put there instead and how to stop the nasties re-establishing.  

“There are lots of remnant natural habitats in Raglan township tucked away in gullies or on the coast which are a mix of private and reserve land but they have often been taken over by aggressive weeds that stop the native trees from growing and regenerating.,” Liz says.

With a view to develop a long-term strategic approach, key players Waikato District and Waikato Regional Council alongside local groups Whaingaroa Environment Centre, Greenslade Weedbusters, Karioi Maunga Project, Xtreme Zero Waste and passionate locals Ross Henderson and Moira Cursey have been working behind the scenes since the beginning of 2020.

Liz says the COVID lockdown saw an increase in locals getting out in the garden to get rid of the weeds and restore the native flora and fauna, but struggled with the challenge of how to safely dispose of the weeds.

“Fortunately, over the last two years Xtreme Zero Waste has discovered that their hot foodwaste composting system easily destroys almost all noxious plants, even those in seed.,” Liz says.

The group are determined to establish long term learning opportunities so everyone can recognise the noxious plants and get rid of them when they are small and easy to tackle.  

“We need more native trees planted instead of the weeds to help bring back our native birds and other fauna in town and complement the great work Karioi Maunga project is doing with backyard predator and pest trapping,” Leanne says.

For more information about the Whaingaroa Weed Blitz contact whaingaroaweedbusters@gmail.com.              

Janine Jackson