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Join the Hunt for Chilean Needle Grass

Join the Hunt for Chilean Needle Grass

This is the time of the year when Chilean Needle Grass becomes easier to spot and the hunt is on by Council’s Biosecurity team.

Council staff and contractors will be combing known infestation areas as the plant becomes more visible during its summer flowering. Landholders will also be undertaking a substantial amount of control work, predominantly in the Blind River area.

The South American weed was first discovered in Marlborough in the 1940s. It invades dryland pastures and can be carried on sheep's wool, on machinery and in clothing. Its sharp seeds can penetrate animals causing blindness, deafness and abscesses in sheep.

Marlborough District Council Biosecurity Coordinator Jono Underwood says during the past 10 years the number of infestations has risen steeply and more help is needed from Marlburians to help reduce the impact this pest is having on our region.

“Between now and the end of summer is when the needle grass is seeding and these seeds can easily hitch a ride, especially if you’re moving soil. If you’re in an infested area it’s important to be aware of the risk and the regulations which apply.”

“There are helpful resources available on the Council's website, including a new Smart Map, with information on the status of the pest plant, where it has been found, photographs and explanation of what can be done to deal with it,” he says.

If you think you’ve seen the plant, take a photo of it, record the location and email the information to the Council (biosecurity@marlborough.govt.nz).

Check out the Biosecurity Smart Map showing where Needle Grass has been found as well as other information relating to the weed. https://marlborough.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=bcf43a62f5944909bfeef264d26c1621


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