Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Invasive Pond Weeds Government Ban. Charlie Dimmock.Richard Benyon. Defra

Environment Minister Richard Benyon  has just announced a ban on the sale of five invasive water plants which cost the UK economy £1.7 billion a year to control:

Parrot's Feather
Water Fern
Floating Pennywort
Australian Swamp Stone-crop/New Zealand pygmyweed
Water Primrose

Richard Benyon said:“Tough laws to curb the sale of these plants could save the country millions of pounds as well as protecting wildlife such as fish and native plants. But as well as saving money and protecting wildlife the ban will also help maintain access to rivers and lakes for anglers and watersport fans.”

Retailers will have to stop selling the five plants in a year’s time or face a possible £5,000 fine and even a prison sentence of up to six months.

Fairy Godmother in Cinderella
at the Theatre Royal Windsor in 2010

TV gardener Charlie Dimmock, who is famous for never wearing a bra and who has been in  pantomimes in recent years and a lecturer on Fred Olsen cruises, advised gardeners: "If you find any aquatic plants that you don't want in your pond, remove them and make sure you either compost them or place them in your green bin". 

The NAAC (National Association of Agricultural Contractors) provides details of qualified firms to spray the plants.
Parrot's Feather
Attractive Parrot’s Feather is popular with buyers and mosquitos, and is easy to cultivate in garden ponds, lakes and aquariums. Unfortunately It grows rampantly, covers water, blocks the light from native plants and spreads out on to land.

Water Fern 
Water Fern. The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology warns of the plant’s “dense infestations, which completely cover the water surface and are a danger to children, pets and livestock who may attempt to walk onto the apparently dry land without appreciating that there is deep water underneath.The dense cover of floating weeds also reduces the light level beneath the surface so that submerged weeds and algae die off causing serious de-oxygenation problems. Free-floating weeds can also be drawn into water intakes, blocking pumps and filters, and can mat together forming floating rafts,which cause flow problems and obstructions to weirs, locks and other structures".

Floating Pennywort
Floating Pennywort can grow up to eight inches a day and costs the British economy £23.5 million a year, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Press Release issued on 29 January, 2013,.
Australian Swamp Stone-crop (New Zealand Pygmyweed). 
Australian Swamp Stone-crop (New Zealand Pygmyweed).  Tussocks of this plant rapidly grow into a dense mat which reduces the oxygen levels of invertebrates and fish and eliminates the native flora and fauna.

Water Primrose
The Water Primrose, from Central and South America, looks a pretty little thing but it grows in mats of up to three feet high, depleting fish and other aquatic species of oxygen and light.  Wikipedia calls it is a noxious invader of aquatic ecosystems in North America, and it is also a problem in France.