Pond Plants! - Please think before you dump!

Pond Plants!  - Please think before you dump!

Pond Plants! – Please think before you dump!

Are you having a big clear-out of your garden pond this Autumn?

If so, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) are urging you to “Be Plant Wise” and “Know What You Grow” to help prevent the spread of non-native, invasive aquatic plants from your pond (or aquarium) into the wild.

Even a small fragment of a plant moved to a water course outside your pond can form a new population in the wild, where they can smother our native plants, clog our waterways, exacerbate flooding and remove oxygen from the water, which can in turn, kill fish.

Invasive alien species (IAS) are one of the greatest threats to the environment, partly because many of them grow really rapidly when released into a new environment. For example, Floating Pennywort, can grow at a rate of 20cm a day. This is equivalent to two thirds the length of a football pitch in just one year!

Owned and managed by the National Trust, Glastry Clay Pits, on the Ards Peninsula is one such area which has already been hit by the problem of Invasive Aquatic Plants from members of the public unwittingly releasing their pond plants.

So what can we do to stop the spread?

  1. Know what you grow –. Ask for help picking the right plants for the size of your pond and ask how to care for them properly. See www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/our-work/publications/keeping-ponds-and-aquaria-without-harmful-invasive-plant
  1. Stop the spread – Be Plant Wise by not moving pond plants around. Any waste water should be emptied away from streams, rivers, ponds and lakes, or drains that flow into them.
  1. Compost with care – Be Plant Wise by disposing of aquatic plants responsibly. Don’t dump them in the wild; Never place them in a nearby pond or waterway, where they can quickly become a problem.

As of the 3 August 2017, EU legislation has led to the ban from sale of American skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus), Cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana), Lagarosiphon major and water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). And a further four plants, Alternanthera philoxeroides (Alligator weed), Elodea nuttallii (Nuttall’s waterweed), Gunnera tinctoria (Giant Rhubarb) and Myriophyllum heterophyllum (Broadleaf watermilfoil) have been added to the current list of aquatic plant invasive species regulated under the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation (1143/2014). 

Further information, and FAQ about these restrictions, and what they might mean for you, can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ website: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/invasive-alien-species

Also on the website,http://invasivespeciesireland.com/what-can-i-do/be-plant-wise/ 

To print off your own copy of this poster please visit www.strangfordlough.org