What's good. What's not.

Identifying natives, weeds,etc  

It is difficult to find a comprehensive list of plants which make it easy to identify weeds and distinguish them from native plants.

There is a list of various online and printed references on the page: Plants - identification and information

This page includes a copy of a poster of Good Natives and Bad Weeds in Le Roys Bush 

If you are not sure about any plant in or around Le Roys - please email a photo of it and where it was found to leroysbush@gmail.com and we will do our best to help identify it. 



 Some problem plants in Le Roys Bush

Palm Grass

This picture shows a large palm grass bush with mature seed heads in June 2016 in the stream just below Enterprise Street.
Palm grass is hard to get rid of. The seeds spread by wind and animals.  Strong roots & prickly sheaths make mechanical removal difficult. It's extremely hard to kill, resprouts constantly.
The following notes are extracted from the Auckland Council site http://pestplants.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/plant-search/Setpal:
1. Dig out small clumps (CAUTION: Leaf stalks covered in irritating hairs, wear protective clothing when handling plant.) 
2. In active growth phase, stem inject with 2ml undiluted glyphosate into root masses, 150 mm apart. 
3. Spray in spring (200ml glyphosate + 20ml penetrant/10L).
  Frequent & regular follow up required to achieve eradication.

Pampas grass -  how to identify young pampas plants from toe-toe

Pampas grass is often mistaken for the native toe-toe.  They are closely related and both have cutty leaves and feathery seed heads.  However, pampas grasses from South America spreads widely across waste land, cliff edges and farm land destroying native vegetation. Once established they grow massive and are very hard to remove.  On the other hand, toe-toe is an attractive plant that looks great for landscaping or as a nurse crop for native restoration.

Once fully grown, pampas differs from toe-toe in the time of year it starts to flower, the shape of its seed heads and by the way dying leaves curl at the base of the plant. 
However, if you find plants on your property, there is an easy way to tell whether the plant is toe-toe or pampas at any stage of growth:
(1) Does the leaf have a single rib or multiple ribs?  A single rib is pampas; multiple ribs are toe-toe.
(2) Is it easy to tear across the leaf? Holding the leaf between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, pull gently?  If the leaf tears easily, then it is pampas.  
If you are still not sure, ask for expert advice. 

How to get rid of them:
 - dead head the flowers when the first appear from February through to April; cut them well down the stem or the flower will regrow
 - for very small pampas plants - with gloved hands, grasp them round the base of the leaves and pull out, roots and all
 - for slightly bigger plants - dig them out with a spade or grubber, removing the roots
 - for very large pampas plants, some people hire a bulldozer or a spraying contractor.

Spraying pampas takes a while to get results.  See the ARC website for details.

If you want to remove them by hand and have the time and energy you can:
    - cut them back close to the ground (I've used either a chainsaw or small folding saw) and then
    - smother them (with a tarpaulin or black plastic held down close to the ground) 

Digging out the roots is hard but not impossible. The roots are tangled but quite shallow.  A spade tends to bounce off - a heavy grubber or pick may work ok. My favourite tool is a 5 foot crowbar - it tends to cut through the tangled roots with little more than the effort of lifting it. Once separated into smaller pieces, it is easy to slice out with a space. 

NOTE: toe-toe has been planted in a number of locations in LeRoys Bush - please dont pull it out in mistake for pampas.  If you see something in LeRoys that you suspect may be pampas, get in touch with us.

 Help stop Moth Plant (Kapok Vine) from spreading 

Moth plant (also known as Kapok Vine) starts to form its seedpods in February and they ripen through till autumn.  It doesn't look a lot like choko - but its growth habit and big seed pods are reminiscent of choko. Which we don't want in the bush either!
If you have any moth plant in your garden or in a reserve near you, here are some solutions for tackling it:

  • Cut the stem off about 20 cms above ground level
  • Scrape the bark off for about 20cms below the cut
  • Treat the stump and the scraped bark with Vigilant gel (take care not to do this within a metre of native or non-invasive plants)
  • Remove any seed pods from the tree and bury deep (if you leave them lying round or on the vine, they will mature and spread their seeds) or allow to rot in black plastic bags and then send to landfill
For more information, search "Mothplant" at weedbusters.co.nz

Click here to see a new brochure released by Council.  


Some people think it's important to foster moth plant to help feed monarch butterflies.

This is likely to be a bad move as they can get stuck in it - 

If you'd like to help tackle Mothplant wherever it occurs, join the Facebook site STAMP (Society Totally Against Moth Plant)
If you are disabled and cannot tackle mothplant on your property, you could approach the STAMP group.

Queen of the Night - a recent garden escapee

The Queen of the Night (Cestrum Nocturnum) made its appearance in suburban gardens relatively recently - popularised by its strong scent in the early evening. Unfortunately, it seeds readily in a range of habitats and is widely spread not just in the fringes of the reserve - but even into the centre of the wetlands.  Working bees have eliminated hundreds of Queen of the Night plants from the reserve, but the source of the seeds needs to be addressed.
But like with many other invasive pest plants, it spreads easily from neighbouring properties. Neighbours can help to preserve the bush below their boundaries by eliminating pest plants from their gardens. It is important to eliminate Queen of the Night before its seeds are spread.
When Queen of the Night is young it is easily confused with some young natives - for example with Mahoe (Whiteywood).  The leaf and stem colour are similar.  However, Mahoe has serrated leaves.  If you are unsure, go back during the fruiting season and the multiple white fruit on the Queen of the Night - even while young are easily identified.  

Le Roys Bush Management Committee - Significant Pest Plants

Worst Weeds Posters 

      To see the 16 worst weeds in Le Roys Bush and Little Shoal Bay, click here for a PDF          

Problem Weeds in the Wetland

 Purple nut sedge  Cyperus rotundus  Auckland Council biosecurity link
 Purple umbrella sedge  Cyperus congestus  http://nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.asp?ID=3791
 Umbrella sedge  Cyperus eragrostis  http://nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.asp?ID=3796
 Willow weed  Persicaria maculosa  http://nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.asp?ID=3113 

 Persicaria maculosa, Cyperus congestus and Cyperus eragrostis are very persistent in the wetland at the bottom of Glade Place - more research ongoing.
An overview of LRB projects to tackle weeds in Le Roys Bush can be found on our page: Stop the pests!
KW Salmon,
5 Feb 2014, 17:25
KW Salmon,
28 Aug 2012, 04:46
KW Salmon,
28 Aug 2012, 04:47