August PEST PLANT OF THE MONTH: Climbing asparagus
Pest plants, such as climbing asparagus and moth plant, are invading Auckland’s North Shore – your gardens and your nearby bush reserves. Controlling them when they are small is easy and cheap. If they are left to grow, they can spread across your property onto your neighbours’ gardens and to nearby reserves.
Auckland Council has recently introduced new rules that require people in some areas to remove some pest plants from their property, in order to protect our native biodiversity.
Climbing asparagus is a scrambling vine that is capable of smothering and shading out seedlings, eventually creating thick mats throughout the forest understory and prohibiting indigenous forest regeneration. This pest plant is of high threat to our native biodiversity, as the vine is able to grow in shaded areas – invading throughout the bush, not just around the edges. The berries ripen from green to red-orange and the seed is spread by birds. It can also be spread by dumping of garden waste.
Take action as soon as possible:
Report the weed using the EcoTrack.nz app.
Dig out small infestations trying to remove all parts of the root rhizomes – climbing asparagus can regrow from rhizomes that are left in the ground.
If using herbicides, they’re most effective in spring and early summer before the seeds have ripened. Hand pull any climbing vines off non target plants and seedlings before spraying. Spray with glyphosate 10ml/l (plus penetrant). Always wear appropriate personal protection equipment and read the manufacturer’s label for guidelines and recommendations. Talk to the Restore Hibiscus & Bays Ecological Restoration Advisor for further guidance.
Follow up in three months to reapply herbicide and ensure all regrowth has died.
Dispose of seeds, rhizomes and roots in your rubbish bin to go to landfill, securely tied inside a plastic bag - to stop it spreading to other areas.
Stop pest plants invading again by replanting with non-pest plants (preferably native plants) once regrowth is no longer a problem.
Talk to your neighbours and encourage them to take action too!
This Pest Plant of the Month feature is a collaborative initiative between Restore Hibiscus & Bays, Pest Free Kaipātiki Restoration Society, Pupuke Birdsong Project, Restoring Takarunga Hauraki, the Upper Harbour Ecological Network and Kaipātiki Project. Building on Te Ao Māori principles of kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga, these environmental networks bring our communities together to foster guardianship, care and respect towards our whenua, natural world and indigenous wildlife.