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Fatal blow for woody weeds


Media release 4 August, 2000

Fatal blow for woody weeds

A weed is a plant growing in the wrong place, and New Zealand has more than its fair share. Introduced plants like our climate so much they are out-competing our native vegetation.

But a new product developed by HortResearch scientists Brian Ward and Ron Henzell is dealing a fatal blow to woody weeds. Seven years of research has gone into the low toxicity gel herbicide and a unique method of application for dealing with unwanted plants.

After plenty of testing and field-work where a range of ingredients in gel form were trialled the scientists finally settled on an active component called picloram. It has a non-scheduled hazard classification, which is the safest classification and falls into the same category as many organic or biological products.

The gel herbicide can be put directly onto a freshly cut stem by means of the brush bottle applicator and provided it is used correctly, close to 100 percent kill rate is possible. It can also be used with the TIPITTM gel pruner that is most suitable for stems less than 15mm diameter.

This form of application means there is no run off or spray drift. Only the target plant is killed making it ideal for ecologically sensitive areas. One brush bottle (240g) can treat 120 stems of 25mm diameter and there is a 1.8kg refill pack available.

No pre-mixing of the product is required, it is ready to use at any time and as it is only applied where it is needed there is no waste.

The Department of Conservation and some rural property owners are already using the gel marketed as VigilantTM. Farmers with bush covenants, or anyone, who wants a clean and safe method of removing problem woody weeds, will find it particularly useful.

Mr Ward said Vigilant is registered for use on old man's beard, climbing spindleberry, Japanese honeysuckle and grey willow. Research is continuing with other problem plants and good results are being achieved particularly on cotoneaster, Darwin's barberry, tree privet and gorse.

Vigilant will be on display at the HortResearch stand in the Pavilion at Hortenz at Mystery Creek from August 17 to 19.

words 356

For further information contact: Brian Ward, HortResearch, Ruakura Research Centre. Tel 07 858 4650 Extn 4766. Fax: 07 858 4705. Email: bward@hort.cri.nz or Liz Brook, Communications Manager, HortResearch, Tel: 06 351 7000 Ext 7749. Fax: 06 351 7038. Mobile: 025 505 912. A/h: 06 328 9836. Email: lbrook@hort.cri.nz

Liz Brook Communications Manager HortResearch Corporate Office Private Bag 11 030 Palmerston North New Zealand

Tel: +64 (6) 351 7000 Ext 7749 Fax: +64 (6) 351 7038 Mobile: 025 505 912


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