Pink rag­wort has ad­vanced in­land

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY / NGA¯ KO¯ RERO TAIWHENUA - By JILL GAL­LOWAY

The weed pink rag­wort is more wide­spread than Hori­zons Re­gional Coun­cil staff thought pos­si­ble.

‘‘ It’s the poster boy of weeds,’’ Hori­zons en­vi­ron­men­tal co-or­di­na­tor Craig Davey said.

He said pink rag­wort had spread too far to con­sider erad­i­ca­tion.

‘‘ It’s been in the dune land for 50 years. It started as a gar­den plant and spread. We saw it first from Whanganui to Wellington in the light sand coun­try, but has spread fur­ther in­land than we ex­pected.’’

He said en­vi­ron­men­tal staff and farm­ers saw it in dry sites such as by roads and in drive­ways and it had colonised in the Manawatu Gorge, but it did not take over pas­ture as some weeds had.

The small plants could be eaten by stock, but once it was big and woody, and prickly, stock didn’t like it, Davey said.

A ma­ture plant had about 150,000 seeds, which were spread by the wind, he said.

If peo­ple do see it grow­ing in new places, now is the time to pull it out, or spray it, as the plant is flow­er­ing at the mo­ment. ‘‘We rec­om­mend con­tain­ing it. But it is ag­gres­sive and although last year we tried to keep it out of Tararua, it spread there and it’s in the gorge now.’’

WIDE­SPREAD: Pink rag­wort has spread fur­ther than orig­i­nally thought.

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