Media release

Old Man’s Beard Must Go

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Despite its attractive flowers, Old Man’s Beard is considered the most damaging climbing plant introduced to New Zealand because it smothers the plants and trees it grows on. This makes it a threat to Otago’s biodiversity.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) wants help from the public to destroy any Old Man’s Beard on their property.

ORC Director Environmental Monitoring and Operations Scott MacLean said now is the best time of year to act.

“The plant is in flower at the moment, so it’s easy to identify. We’ve produced a video that explains how to identify and get rid of it, which people can find on our website and Facebook page,” he said.

If people have Old Man’s Beard on their property, they are legally required to control it.

ORC staff are currently inspecting properties around Dunedin and North Otago for the pest plant.

If Old Man’s Beard is found, the property owner will be notified and instructed to control it. ORC will reinspect the property to make sure this has been done.

“Getting rid of the plant is as easy as tracing the vine back to the roots and either digging them out, or cutting the vine and applying a herbicide gel or glyphosate-based product. People can purchase these from a hardware store,” Mr MacLean said.

For the second year, ORC has offered two scholarships to botany students from the University of Otago, who are helping with inspections and getting on-the-job experience.

The students and ORC staff carrying out inspections are warranted, giving them legal authorisation under the Biosecurity Act to enter properties and inspect for pest plants.

Old Man’s Beard is a pest plant that will smother the plants it grows on