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‘Wogging’ to reduce weeds

Instead of “plogging”, where you pick up litter while jogging, what about “wogging” where you pull weeds out of the ground while jogging.

Ecoworks environmental weed control contractor Robyn Wilkie came up with the idea after seeing many weed seedlings starting to grow along roadsides such as Riverside Road and Matokitoki Valley.

In Gisborne there is an ongoing issue with purple ragwort, a flowering weed also known as holly-leaved senecio or senecio glastifolius.

It is an aggressive garden escapee that establishes rapidly on lightly-stocked pasture, cut-over pine forest, wasteland, reserves, beaches and roadsides.

Purple ragwort can grow to 1.5 metres high and can be a little prickly to the touch.

“Maybe a pair of gloves will become jogging attire, along with the hi-vis,” Mrs Wilkie said.

The seeds are windborne and can impact on areas far from the parent plant, making containment difficult, therefore, control before seeding is the better option.

“Driving around in my job as an environmental weed control contractor, I see a lot of little seedlings growing.

“One plant here, one there and I just want to stop the car and pull a few out but unfortunately there is only one of me, hence my idea of ‘wogging’. As people walk and run along these roads, they can add extra exercise into their workout by bending and pulling weeds out of the ground. That way, we can reduce the seeding of this weed.”

“Think of the abdominal muscles and the shoulder exercise. Not to mention the cardio workout,” Mrs Wilkie said.

“My challenge to you is if you see this dark green erect seedling while on your walk, please don’t ignore it — pull it out.

“At this time of the year, the plant can be left where it’s dropped and it will rot away, sending nutrients straight back into the soil.”

“Some readers will already be aware of this problem and perhaps you have a landowner who has large infestations of purple ragwort.

“I am constantly frustrated by those who ignore weeds and leave others to control weeds on their properties.

“Perhaps we need to have conversations with neighbours. If pressure is applied, the problem will become visible enough for the landowner to take action.

If this approach does not work, the Gisborne District Council weed team are always available to give advice and assistance in the fight against weeds.

The Regional Pest Management Plan states that holly-leaved senecio is a progressive containment plant pest.

It is the responsibility of landowners or occupiers to destroy the plants to prevent seeding and to maintain a 50m boundary clearance back from adjacent land that is free of this plant.

It is important that land occupiers with this weed maintain a regular maintenance programme to control the spread before seed is produced.

Where land occupiers fail to carry out proper control measures to the required standards, GDC can use regulatory measures to achieve compliance.

“Our staff can help by giving advice on the best control method,” Mrs Wilkie said.

“Happy ‘wogging’ everyone.”

New initiative: A new idea of pulling weeds such as purple ragwort out while jogging could be a solution to depleting the amount of weeds in the area. Picture by Liam Clayton
Pest plant: This is what ragwort looks like before it has flowered. Ecoworks is urging people to keep their eyes out and pull it out when jogging around the area. Picture supplied by Ecoworks