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Off with their heads!

3 February, 2014Posted 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, Ms Slattery recommends that the pods are disposed of properly or taken to Council’s Resource Recovery Centre, located on Berrima Road Moss Vale, as green waste where they will then undergo bulk composting to ensure the seeds are properly destroyed.

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

“Agapanthus are a tough species, and can grow a new plant from just a tiny section of an underground rhizome, so if you do want to get rid of the plant then it’s important not to throw the whole lot into the compost,” Ms Slattery said.

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.