Plant Wise campaign aims to save waterways
Launched by Natural Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies in collaboration with the celebrated gardener, Charlie Dimmock, the campaign seeks to raise awareness of the devastation that ‘water invaders’ can cause to the waterways system and wildlife. It also aims to show insight into how gardeners can inadvertently exacerbate the problem by composting plants improperly, introducing species to the wild or disposing pond water incorrectly.
Be Plant Wise, supported by Defra and the Scottish government, highlights the five ‘worst offenders’ that can harm and even destroy the wildlife and waterways. Fast-growing floating pennywort, New Zealand pigmyweed, water-primrose, parrot’s feather and water fern – all of which can be found in anyone’s garden pond – are creating significant problems in the wild as they expand rapidly, strangle waterways and destroy the ecosystem.
Floating pennywort, for example, can grow at a rate of 20cm a day and water primrose can double in size every 15-20 days. Many of these these plants form dense mats which look like dry land and pose an additional danger of drowning to people and livestock.
Minister Irranca-Davies said: “Gardeners can do their bit to help stop the spread by knowing what they grow in their ponds and disposing of unwanted plants with the utmost care. This is vital to halt the spread and prevent our waterways from getting overrun.”