Weed control

Weeds threaten Wellington's native biodiversity. Find out what the Council does to battle these pesky plants.

The need for weed control

Weeds are everywhere in Wellington. You can spot a mix of different weeds along roads and railway lines, Japanese honeysuckle invading Trelissick Park, and climbing asparagus in reserves such as Mount Victoria.

In Wellington City, we control over 90 different ecological weed species, from marram grass to old man’s beard.

Focusing weed control in reserves

The Council focuses weed busting operations on sites of high conservation value in coastal, forest, scrub and sand dune habitats, and restoration areas where new native plants are beginning to grow are all vulnerable to invasion from weeds. We target the worst weeds in the most vulnerable areas.

Restoration is also part of this work. Once pest animals and plants are controlled in these areas, the Council reintroduces the correct native plant species for each area.

Where the Council controls weeds

The Council is responsible for weed control across public parks, reserves, and green spaces.

We work in a variety of areas, from sand dunes on the coast, to the top of the skyline, to our ancient forests such as Otari-Wilton's Bush and Redwood Bush.

Weed control is also required in recreation areas such as tracks and parks, sportsfields and play areas, and on boat ramps and slipways where algae can grow.

Which weeds are targeted

We work with contractors and volunteers to control weeds.

Which weeds we target depends on the type of area we are protecting, and which type of weeds are the biggest threat there.

In forest habitats, for example, climbing weeds are a priority because they can cause canopy collapse. Climbing weeds regularly targeted include old man’s beard, climbing asparagus, banana passionfruit and Japanese honeysuckle.

How the Council fights weeds

The Council works with trained contractors and community groups to kill weeds, until both the weeds and their seeds are gone. Unfortunately, the seeds produced by some weeds in one year can take seven years of weeding to remove, so this often takes many visits over many years.

Community groups often weed by hand, while contractors use chemical spraying methods. Restoration planting sites can often be controlled using hand-held weed cutting machines.

Weed spraying

The Council and our contractors spray weeds throughout the city. We minimise any damage to native plants by preparing the sites well or using spray that only affects certain weeds.

Aerial spraying – Outer Green Belt

From time to time, contractors may use a helicopter to spray important but hard to reach boundary fences and other areas within the Outer Green Belt. This work is necessary to control weeds that threaten important natural areas.

Aerial spraying is highly weather-dependent.  Because of this, we may need to work at short notice. Signs will be displayed to notify that work is in progress.

The Council sprays along select sections of the Skyline Walkway from Mount Kaukau south to Te Kopahau Reserve on the south coast. Sections of the walkway track may be closed temporarily. Council staff and signs will be at all main access points – please follow all warning signs and staff instructions.