Monday, December 12, 2011

Save the world: Trim your hedges

The flowers are just beginning to bloom here, soon the whole hedge will be white.

This house ownder trimmed his hedge well, but there were a few that escape his shears.

The tree privet and Chinese privet were introduced to New Zealand as a good hedge. Now it is regarded as a pest plant. In my family and among friends it is known as the time when I tried to murder my husband.

Last night, I was in bed half sleeping and half watching a TV show which must have been Ghost whisperer. A ghost had approached the ghost whisperer that his wife had killed him by subjected him to allergens which eventually killed him.

As I as driving by a hedge with full blooming privet flowers I remember about 30 years ago before we had children. There was a beautiful hedge with white flowers which reminded me of the rambutan flowers in Borneo by our bedroom window.

Feeling nostalgic of the land I left when I was 20, I picked some of these flowers and placed it on our dining table cum study table. The husband immediately felt sick with his nose running, and eyes watering, head spinning and difficulty in breathing. I thought he was coming down with a cold. He retired early to bed and continued to feel really sick.

The next morning, he said it was the pollen grains from my flowers. I quickly throw the flowers as far away as possible. We told our landlord and he was very understanding. He offered to have the hedge trimmed completely from the flowers. Since then, we found out that privet was one of the most obnoxious pest that is responsible for asthma.

When the husband and I go for walks during the spring and summer season, he can smell the privet meters away. I do wish privet hedge owners would think of asthma sufferers and trim their hedge and stop the flowers from blooming.

Privet is one of several plants that are poisonous to horses. In some parts of the world where they are not native, some privet species have become invasive weeds, spreading into wilderness areas and displacing native species. This is particularly a problem in North America, where no species of the genus occurs naturally.[4] Privet is a huge problem in New Zealand and the east coast of Australia. It is banned from sale or cultivation in New Zealand due to the effects of its pollen on asthma sufferers. Privet pollen is known to cause asthma and eczema in sufferers. Privet can be removed by contacting local government agencies to report i presence.
Problem: Tree Privet is listed on the National Pest Plant Accord. It is a fast growing tree which can easily out-compete native plants in the bush. The leaves and fruit are poisonous and it is believed to be linked to instances of hay-fever, asthma and allergies. Chinese privet has the same problems and is subject to Pest Management Strategies in many Regions in New Zealand even though it is not listed on the National Pest Plant Accord. They are both commonly seen in gardens as the ornamentals they were originally intended as, but unfortunately they have escaped and thrived in less controlled areas.

Thirty six percent of respondents to a survey of gardeners in the United Kingdom said that privet would put them off buying a property.[6]

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