UPDATE – (8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2)
- The Big Island Invasive Species Committee is introducing new, video tools to help gardeners and small-scale agriculturalists prevent the spread of pests and diseases in Hawaiʻi.
From the Big Island Invasive Species Committee:
Sharing cuttings and seedlings is a beloved and longstanding practice amongst backyard gardeners and small-scale farmers, but sharing comes with risk. What begins as a pleasant exchange can become a long-term headache, as ants, scale insects, slug eggs, fungi, and many other pests can stealthily hitchhike into well cared-for gardens.
The University of Hawaiʻi College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) recently joined forces with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) to create a set of short videos aimed at supporting resident growers. The educational videos offer practical, step-by-step instructions for creating home garden quarantine stations and best practices to avoid spreading pests, disease, and invasive species when exchanging plants and seeds. Topics covered include proper methods for sharing sweet potato, recognizing banana bunchy top virus, and disposal of different kinds of contaminated plant materials.
Molly Murphy, a specialist with the Plant Pono program, advised that all residents who engage in plant sharing take the time to learn about home biosecurity, saying “We know that the number one pathway for pests coming into the islands is live plants and plant materials. The same is true for our backyards – as home gardeners, we should all be doing our best to stop pests from moving through our communities.” She notes that both BIISC and CTAHR provide resources for controlling pests when they are detected.
Local growers are featured, including Sean Jennings, founder of the popular Homesteadin’ Hawaii Facebook Group, Zoe Kosmas and Brayden Jadulang with Mālaʻai, and Kaʻiana Runnels of The Kohala Center. The videos, plus other resources for avoiding invasive species, can be found on PlantPono.org, which is managed by BIISC.
Funding for this project was provided by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development.