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vert bar IN THE NEWS, Thursday 8 March 2012

Be Plant Wise Campaign Launches

The Be Plant Wise campaign is supported by the National Botanic Gardens, and was launched on Thursday the 8th March, 2012 by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The campaign highlights the actions gardeners can take to prevent aquatic plants in their ponds from getting into the wild.

Invasive pond plants such as curly leaved waterweed, New Zealand pigmyweed and floating pennywort can cause significant harm to native ponds, canals and rivers by their rapid and excessive growth. The curly leaved waterweed, for example, is now present in Lough Corrib where it would cover hundreds of hectares without an expensive control programme. It displaces native plants and animals, including the trout fishery on which many local livelihoods depend.

The focus of the campaign is to prevent problems before they happen. If gardeners are Plant Wise they can help stop these plants from getting into the wild and damaging our waterways. We have developed a garden trail which highlights sixteen common garden plants that are already problems or may soon become so . . .

The campaign is being launched at a time when people are starting to consider new plants for their gardens and ponds. The campaign is being delivered through Invasive Species Ireland and by working with the horticulture industry. Materials highlighting the dangers have been distributed to garden centres around Ireland. Raising awareness is a vital step in safeguarding our ecosystems.

The possession and sale of the most invasive plant species will be made illegal later in the year under the EU Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations of 2011.

DO YOU RECOGNISE THE GUILTY PLANTS?
Of course there are many examples of beautiful gardens in Ireland. These contribute greatly to the enjoyment of plants and wildlife, but a minority of plants can cause problems. The Be Plant Wise campaign will help inform gardeners about how they can manage their ponds responsibly’.

Pond owners are advised to:

  • Compost with care – make sure you dispose of discarded plants properly; pond and fish tank water should be discarded away from streams, rivers, ponds or lakes;

  • Stop the spread – be careful not to introduce invasive species into the wild, even accidentally, as you could be breaking the law; and

  • Know what you grow – pick the right plants for your pond and manage them carefully. Choose non-invasive species where possible.

Further information on how to ‘Be Plant Wise’ can be found on the Invasive Species Ireland website at http://invasivespeciesireland.com/what-can-i-do/be-plant-wise/