A Pest Plant Requiring Everyone's Attention
Northland Regional Council

Everyone needs to do their bit to control wild ginger. The name wild ginger is applied to two species. The most common and most invasive of the two is the seed bearing kahili ginger, with the non-seeding yellow ginger being less common and also less invasive.

Both form dense thickets smothering and eventually replacing all other vegetation, leading in time to infested forest and non grazed areas containing nothing but ginger.

Birds eat the fruits of kahili ginger and seeds are spread in this way. Root fragments of all ginger species grow easily so care must be taken when disposing of ginger contaminated waste.

Both species were introduced into New Zealand around the 1860’s as garden plants and soon after became established in the wild. Northland Regional Council has worked with local communities and landowners to encourage them to eradicate wild ginger from their land. Within designated community control areas control can be required.

Good progress has been made by individuals and community groups controlling the major kahili ginger infestations near Whangaroa, Herekino and Waimamaku-Waipoua. Large infestations also occur at Kohukohu, Rawene, Panguru, Kerikeri, Opua-Paihia, Whangarei and McLeod Bay. Yellow ginger is found in abundance around Kaeo and Whangarei.

There are three main methods of controlling wild ginger. Probably the safest effective method is stump treatment with a metsulfuron herbicide. Foliage spraying with a metsulfuron herbicide is slow acting but effective. Digging out small stands is effective, however all root fragments must be removed and disposed of correctly or the problem is only spread.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

If you have wild ginger growing on your land, destroy it. Remember that it may look pretty and harmless in your garden but birds can carry seeds from there on to other properties and far into the bush. Take a look at local bush blocks and parks. If wild ginger is growing there, talk to the owners. With their approval you can help in killing the ginger. Pull or dig out seedlings where you find them and dispose of them safely.

It will take everybody’s help to be free of wild ginger. It’s your heritage you will be protecting.

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