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'Giant' Weed Takes Root In BOP

Green Party Biosecurity spokesperson, Ian Ewen-Street is calling on MAF to act immediately to prevent the noxious weed Kudzu from becoming established in NZ.

Three sites of the vine - which can grow by up to two metres a week in its southeast Asian homeland - have already been discovered in the Bay of Plenty.

"MAF should immediately take all possible steps to completely eradicate this weed," Ian Ewen-Street said today. "Simply trying to control it is not sufficient.

"Every home gardener, farmer and bushwalker knows the drastic effect introduced species such as gorse and old man's beard have had on our environment. Well, Kudzu is the 'giant bean stalk' of the weed world." In the United States, where it was introduced as a soil stabilizer and cheap animal forage, the weed has spread out of control and is estimated now to cover over 2.5 million hectares.

"Herbicides and mowing are not very efficient for large scale control or eradication," Ian Ewen-Street said. "However, the US Agricultural Research Service has found a fungus (Myrothecium verrucaria) from the sickle-pod plant to be 100% effective in killing Kudzu.

"MAF should investigate it immediately, before Kudzu gets established in this country, and start testing the fungus for any impact on native species introduced plants."


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