Do you have this pest plant in your backyard?


Pest plants, such as agapanthus and moth plant, are invading Auckland’s North Shore – your gardens and your nearby bush reserves. Controlling them when they are small is easy and cheap. If they are left to grow, they can spread across your property onto your neighbours’ gardens and to nearby reserves.
Auckland Council has recently introduced new rules that require people in some areas to remove some pest plants from their property, in order to protect our native biodiversity.
The purple flowers of agapanthus are visible from December to February and can be very beautiful to look at. However, they produce thin, papery, black seeds that spread in the wind and grow to form dense umbrella-like clusters with dark green leathery leaves, displacing other plants. They are particularly a problem in coastal areas, such as cliffs and banks, where they prevent native species from growing. The plant has white root rhizomes and can also spread from fragments of the root rhizome in contaminated soil.  

Take action as soon as possible:

  • Report the weed using the app.
  • Dig out small infestations trying to remove most parts of the root rhizomes – Agapanthus can regrow from rhizomes that are left in the ground.
  • For medium to large infestations, use a pruning saw, spade or another hand tool to cut the stem close to the ground. Quickly apply a thin film of MetGel or Bamboo Buster onto the cut stump or rhizomes. Alternatively, spray the freshly cut base with 250ml glyphosate green per 1L of water.
  • Follow up in three months to reapply herbicide and ensure all regrowth has died.
  • Dispose of the flowers and any rhizomes and roots in your rubbish bin to go to landfill, securely tied inside a plastic bag - to stop it spreading to other areas.
  • Talk to your neighbours and encourage them to take action too!
  • Stop pest plants invading again by replanting with non-pest plants (preferably native plants) once regrowth is no longer a problem.
  • Talk to your neighbours and encourage them to take action too!
  • For more information and guides on weed control, visit
  • Download the Forest and Bird weed control guide at

There are several environmental networks across Auckland’s North Shore that support communities to recognise, report and remove pest plants and restore our native wildlife.

East Coast Bays and Hibiscus Coast, Restore Hibiscus & Bays,

Kaipātiki, Pest Free Kaipātiki (PFK),

Takapuna, Pupuke Birdsong Project,

Devonport Peninsula, Restoring Takarunga Hauraki

Upper Harbour, Upper Harbour Ecology Network (UHEN)

For advice on a chemical-free approach
Kaipātiki Project,,

This Pest Plant of the Month feature is a collaborative initiative between Restore Hibiscus & Bays, Pest Free Kaipātiki Restoration Society, Pupuke Birdsong Project, Restoring Takarunga Hauraki, the Upper Harbour Ecological Network and Kaipātiki Project. Building on Te Ao Māori principles of kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga, these environmental networks bring our communities together to foster guardianship, care and respect towards our whenua, natural world and indigenous wildlife.

Correction to the June issue: Unfortunately, there was an error in the production of the June Pest Plant of the Month article and there was some incorrect advice printed on controlling wild ginger. Please refer to the following links for best practice guidelines on controlling wild ginger: Download the Forest and Bird weed control guide at or visit