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As you may be aware, approximately 34 new-to-NZ weeds were found in contaminated coco peat in March, 2008, and it is possible that some of our purchased potting mix may have contained peat from the suspect batch.
A MAF inspection failed to find any new weeds amongst our stock, and particular care is being taken to maximise weed prevention and to monitor those weeds that do appear.
MAF have supplied us with a guide to the suspect species (available here, or for browsing at our office), and have asked that we alert our customers to this situation.
Please take the following precautions with plants in the coco peat mix (recognisable by its loose fibrous nature):
- Ensure your plant is totally free of weeds before you plant it.
- Dig a hole for your plant bigger than the volume of the pot. The soil level up the stem of your plant should be much the same in the ground as it was in the pot. However, it is important to ensure all potting mix is well buried in the hole, and covered with 1-2 cm of soil. This will mean replacing the top layer of potting mix with soil from your hole.
Check your new plantings for unusual weeds. Should you find any:
- Remove the weeds manually.
- Destroy the weeds by incineration, sterilisation or deep burial (which includes disposal at the local council landfill.
- If composting is to be used, the piles must meet certain requirements, otherwise they risk spreading the weeds further. These requirements are: 70° core temperature for 1-2 months; or cool temperature composting under a tarpaulin for 12 months followed by 4-6 weeks uncovered before disturbing the pile.
- Treat all weeded plant pots with an application of pre-emergent herbicide appropriate to the particular plant(s).
- Take particular care to isolate any flowering/seeding weeds before destruction. Burn or place in plastic rubbish sacks for disposal at the local council landfill.
With your help we can contain the spread of these pests.
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