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Controlling a bush killer

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

There’s something really simple you can do to help protect Maungatapere mountain – and all our native bush - it’s to control the weeds in your garden and surrounding areas to stop them spreading.

Climbing asparagus - a Maungatapere bush ‘killer’

Climbing asparagus is one weed that just ruins the native bush. While it climbs, it winds its way around tree trunks and stems stopping their growth and causing weak points where the tree will break in a wind. Not content to kill the big trees, it also smothers the ground and any small seedlings trying to come through. It’s a real forest killer.

Eradicating this weed is a key focus of the volunteers who undertake weed control every month on Maungatapere Mountain.

Why is it such a problem? This doesn’t happen overnight though. Back in the days of the first few gardens around Maungatapere it was a popular garden plant providing a soft green backdrop for more colourful flowering plants. Owners could leave it for months at a time it and it would still survive. Droughts can make it look dead – but it’s just waiting for the autumn and winter rain to burst into life and begin its devastation again through spring and summer. Climbing asparagus has small berries in late spring and the seeds are happily dispersed by birds.

Fortunately, you can help stop this plague. Keep an eye out for this in your gardens or properties and take action to destroy it. Let your neighbours know what to look out for and join forces to find and destroy it in your area. Northland Regional Council's Bio-fund helps fund community pest and weed control so if you do set up a group, they may be able to help you out.

How do I control Climbing asparagus

Climbing asparagus plants have a ‘crown’ - where the stems join the roots. Small plants and infestations can have the crown cut out and hung in the tree at any time of year.

If you have a large area, then herbicide is much quicker and easier. During autumn and winter is the best time to control with herbicide. In autumn and winter, Weedbusters recommend glyphosate at 10mls per 1 litre water with no penetrant if you need to spray against tree trunks. In spring and summer, you will need to double this rate. Make sure there will be no rain for 24hrs after treatment. Got questions?

For more information on weeds in the local, area call Maungatapere Mountain Trustee, Sara Brill, on 022 010 4092 or email at

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