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Perfect time of year to eradicate pesky moth plants

Perfect time of year to eradicate pesky moth plants

Planning on doing some gardening over the Easter break? Now is the perfect time of year to remove the invasive moth plant from your property.

Originating from South America, moth plant is a serious pest in New Zealand and smothers existing native vegetation. It poses a significant threat to our native forests, urban reserves and gardens as it grows quickly and dominates other plants, making it difficult for them to grow.

Each seed pod produces between 250-1000 seeds, which are spread by the wind. The seeds can travel up to 40 kilometres and remain viable for many years.

The best way to remove this plant from your property is to:
• dig out the plant close to the ground including the root system
• cut and treat the vine with herbicide
• hand-pull the vine from the ground, when the ground is wet or damp.

Take caution and wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after handling the plant. The milky white sap can irritate skin and the seed pods are harmful if consumed by humans or animals.

Once the plant has been removed from your property it is important to continue to follow up and remove any seedling regrowth. Left untouched it can easily spread.

Moth plant is required to be controlled on properties within the Waitakere and Hunua weed control zones as well as the Hibiscus Coast and Hauraki Gulf Islands. In most other Auckland areas there is no legal requirement to remove these plants however they are banned from sale, propagation and distribution.

For more information about how to control this invasive pest plant, visit Auckland Council’s website and search for ‘Plant search’ (located under pests and diseases). Alternatively you can contact your local Biosecurity officer via email on biosecurity@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

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