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Off with their heads!

10 February, 2015Posted in: Environment
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Wingecarribee Shire Council is calling on all residents growing agapanthus plants to take to their gardens and remove the seed heads before they open and release their potentially invasive seeds.

A native plant of southern Africa, agapanthus have rapidly become one of the Highlands’ most common garden plants, enjoyed by many residents for their pretty purple flowers and year-round green leaves.

However, at this time of year when the flowers die back, the plant has the potential to spread beyond the neighbourhood garden and threaten the Shire’s diverse bushland, wetlands and other natural areas.

Council’s Bush Regenerator Team Leader Jen Slattery said that now is the time for Southern Highlands gardeners to take their pruning shears to the popular plant.

“Agapanthus are OK in the garden as long as you remove the flower heads before they release their seeds,” she said.

“Unfortunately many people see agapanthus as a plant requiring no maintenance, however it is important to get out into the garden and cut the seed heads off before they open and the seeds get blown around in the autumn wind.”

Once the seed heads are removed, pods should either be bagged and placed in the red-lid domestic waste bin or taken to Council’s Resource Recovery Centre (RRC), located on Berrima Road Moss Vale, where they will be properly destroyed.  Should the pods be brought directly to the RRC with other waste, customers are asked to keep them separate from the general rubbish.

“It’s really important that the seed pods are not placed in the new green organics bin,” said Esther Landells, Council’s Waste Education Projects Officer.

“Agapanthus are an extremely tough species and can grow a new plant from just a tiny section of an underground rhizome,” she said.  “They can even withstand very intense commercial-grade composting.”

“It’s therefore really important that if gardeners wish to get rid of the plant, they don’t compost the seed pods or put them in the organics bin,” Ms Landells said.

If gardeners choose to remove an entire agapanthus plant, it is recommended that only the leaves be used for composting.

Agapanthus is listed by Wingecarribee Shire Council as an environmental weed that has the potential to spread readily into bushland and along creeks, together with the likes of English Ivy, Privet and Willow trees.

Council has produced a full-colour environmental weeds brochure which is available online at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/environment or through garden clubs and Bushcare groups throughout the Highlands.