The threat of weeds

Weeds are a major threat to New Zealand's unique native species, ecosystems and conservation lands.

In New Zealand weeds are almost always plant species that humans have introduced to the country. Sometimes, however, even a native species can be considered to be a weed in a particular site if it affects an important natural value on that site.

What weeds can do:

  • Transform ecosystems and landscapes, altering the availability of essentials such fresh water, eg wilding pine.
  • Threaten the survival of native plants by smothering or out-competing them eg climbing asparagus.
  • Threaten the survival of native animals through providing cover for predators, reducing the availability of preferred foods and lessening the availability of desirable habitats eg russell lupin.

The Department of Conservation is responsible for protecting public conservation land from the threat of invasive weeds.

You can help

New Zealanders can help make a real difference. The weediest places are often those closest to towns as over 70% of invasive weeds were originally garden plants.

You can reduce the spread of invasive weeds by not growing them in your garden, not dumping rubbish from gardens or fish tank and not spreading seeds and fragments.

Go to the Weedbusters website for help on how to control weeds. It includes photos to help identify weeds, and explains how to control them.


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