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Taranaki weed guide a must-have for locals

Thursday 14 April 2022, 2:12AM

By Taranaki Regional Council

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TRC's Leigh Honnor (left) and author Janet Hunt with a copy of the new booklet.
TRC's Leigh Honnor (left) and author Janet Hunt with a copy of the new booklet. Credit: Taranaki Regional Council

NEW PLYMOUTH

A free guide to Taranaki weeds is being called a must-have for local gardeners or anyone who’s ever had a “weed-shaped hole” to fill.

Published by Taranaki Regional Council, the Weedbusters Taranaki booklet was written by Taranaki-based Janet Hunt, an award-winning natural history writer.

The booklet helps locals recognise weeds that need to be reported and/or removed. It also suggests the best native species to plant in their place in order to help restore our region’s biodiversity.

Ms Hunt, who is the chairwoman of the Northern Taranaki Branch of Forest & Bird, says she enjoys showing people what can be achieved by using native plants rather than exotics.

“I am sure that the booklet will become an invaluable learning and reference tool, on the bookshelves of anyone with an interest in plants and gardens.

“It will also complement the wonderful revegetation guides, showing people what can be done with the plants (and by association, the birds and insect life) that belong to this country.”

Council Programme Lead Biosecurity Leigh Honnor says while there have been similar ‘Plant me Instead’ guides produced for other regions, this is the first that is specific to Taranaki.

“Our region is unique so our guide focuses on the weeds most commonly found here, as well as the native plants most likely to thrive in Taranaki conditions.

“We’re delighted with the end result, it’s perfect for everyone from the occasional weed-puller to more serious gardeners and conservation groups.”

She says the Council works hard to control weeds classified as pest plants in the Taranaki Regional Pest Management Plan but it will take a team effort to remove the hundreds of others across the region.

“We hope this booklet will empower ordinary people to take responsibility for their own patch of land.”

There are more weed species growing wild in New Zealand than native plants. Weeds degrade natural ecosystems by displacing native species. They cost our economy billions of dollars annually through lost productivity, control measures and their effect on human and animal health.

Weedbusters Taranaki can be downloaded free at the Taranaki Regional Council website. To request a hard copy email weedbusters@trc.govt.nz or call 0800 736 222.