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Join The Hunt For Chilean Needle Grass

Now’s the time of year when the Council asks for your help to control the highly invasive pest plant, Chilean Needle Grass.

Council’s Senior Biosecurity Officer, Liam Falconer, said the grass flowers during spring and summer, which means it’s easier to spot.

“Look out for its purple-tinged, spikey seed heads and its lime green colour. It is a sharp, angular grass, not soft or droopy like most other grasses,” Mr Falconer said.

“Over the next few months farmers and vineyard operators, along with Council staff and contractors, will be carrying out control work and compliance inspections in known infestation areas.”

He suggests that owners of lifestyle blocks, farms and vineyards check their property for any sign of the grass and contact the Council if they suspect they have seen it. The Council works to get any new infestations under control as quickly as possible.

“As Chilean Needle Grass seeds mature, they can easily hitch a ride, especially if people are moving soil, machinery or stock. If you’re in an infested area it’s important to be aware of the risk and the regulations that apply.”

“Even though most infestations are under intensive management, there is always the possibility of a plant being missed or flowering later in the season. The seeds can move easily by clinging to footwear and animal pelts. People walking in affected areas can help ensure they’re not carrying seeds by checking their footwear and their dog’s coat,” he said.

If you think you’ve seen Chilean Needle Grass, please take a photo, record the location and email: biosecurity@marlborough.govt.nz

You can also use plant ID online platforms such as iNaturalist at: https://inaturalist.nz/ or the Find-A-Pest app to lodge reports. There are helpful resources available on the Council’s website, including a Smart Map with information on the plant, where it has been found, photographs and explanations of what can be done to deal with it. You can view the Smart Map at: https://bit.ly/31DEtRB

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