Queen Elizabeth Park spraying programme
Find out what pest plants are causing infestation issues in QEP, why they need to be controlled and what will happen if we don’t control these invasive weeds over time. For example, gorse is usually a good nursery crop for native trees; find out why this doesn’t work at Queen Elizabeth Park
You’ll also learn how aerial spraying has already made a difference to some parts of the park and why we think much less spraying will be needed in future.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a range of reasons why we or our licence holders spray invasive weeds. Queen Elizabeth Park (QEP) is such a large area of land, so spraying is used for different reasons in various parts of the park.
We spray herbicides to:
GWRC employs staff or contractors to carry out primarily ground based spraying using “gun and hose” machines, mainly from vehicles, to target specific weeds in retired areas, to free up water flow in streams, or to maintain park infrastructure.
For very large weed infestations we are working with the Friends of QEP to understand and address community concerns around aerial spraying so that these weeds can be effectively controlled. Staff or contractors may also use backpack spraying to deal with small scale infestations.
Our farm licence holder may carry out ground based spraying using tractor booms as part of the pasture renewal programme. A key reason for doing this is to kill the grass growing in certain places so new grass can grow without competition. Often a different species of grass is planted that is better suited to Kapiti weather conditions to deliver better nutrition to the animals grazing on it.
There are no practicable alternatives to spraying in these early stages of pasture renovation. It is the most effective and efficient way to rehabilitate areas of land as large as QEP
Our farmer and pony club licence holders also use “gun and hose” spraying to control localised and accessible weeds such as gorse and lupin.
Despite the willingness of the Kapiti community there aren’t enough volunteers to manage the arduous work required to renew all the pastures in the park. Similarly, it would not be feasible for farm practices to maintain a significant workforce to manually cut or grub weeds – many of which are several metres high.
Yes. We strictly adhere to all legislation, standards and protocols designed to protect you, your community and the environment from potentially negative effects associated with these chemicals. This is of the utmost importance to Greater Wellington Regional Council.
All herbicides for sale in New Zealand have been assessed and approved for use by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and are strictly regulated.
Additional legislation we abide by includes:
Because of the wide range of weeds present across QEP, we use a number of different herbicides as part of control methods. Examples include:
The insecticides used include:
GWRC uses a wide range of weed control methods including mowing, mulching and grazing by farm animals. We plant up retired areas in species suited to the local environment, which resist weed invasion. However in some cases there are no practicable alternatives to spraying. It is the most effective and efficient way to rehabilitate areas of land as large as QEP.
Despite the willingness of the Kapiti community there aren’t enough volunteers to manage the arduous work required to hand weed and/ or plant all the land in the park. Similarly, it would be uneconomic for farm practices to maintain a significant workforce to manually cut or grub weeds – many of which are several metres high.
Yes. GWRC, our park licence holders and in some cases our volunteers carry out spraying and other plant pest control (eg cut & paste) using the latest methods. Spraying is tightly controlled and the safest, most environmentally friendly way to control large scale invasive weeds.
To ensure our processes are as safe as possible GWRC staff and contractors are Growsafe certified and comply with the NZ Standard in this area of work. We also have strict health and safety rules in place to ensure our staff and volunteers are not affected when using herbicides as part of their work.
Before any spraying takes place we carry out rigid onsite inspections to identify potential hazards, agree if spraying is the best approach, which herbicide should be use and how it should be applied.
Spraying is only undertaken in fine weather, still or very light conditions to prevent any spray from drifting wider than the target area. If weather conditions change and are likely to affect the delivery of the chemicals, spraying immediately stops.
When spraying GWRC specifically avoids ‘sensitive areas’ such as streams and waterways. Every so often we may need to spray weeds that choke waterways and prevent streams from flowing to prevent flooding. Again, when we do this we follow all rules and regulations regarding aquatic weed removal and safety process in the Regional Fresh Water Plan.
Ground based spraying – also tackles invasive weeds but just from the ground. The most efficient way to do this on such a large area like QEP is to use a tractor or vehicle mounted boom to apply the herbicide. GWRC rangers and contractors also carry out hand-held spot spraying which is carried out using a “gun & hose” from a vehicle mounted tank or a knapsack sprayer. The application of the spray is designed to cling to the weeds and not sink into the soil.
Aerial spraying – is used to tackle invasive weeds we can’t control using ground based methods. Mostly this includes large scale infestations of pest weeds that grow up to 4 metres high and cover hectares of land.
The technology GWRC uses enables spray reaches the targeted area safely. The nozzles attached to a helicopters boom disperses large droplets of herbicide rather than a fine mist which means the spray falls at a controlled rate and is less likely to be carried by the wind outside of the planned spray zone.
GWRC comply with all legal requirements to inform people about when and where we will be spraying at QEP. Our notification process is a key part of our spray planning and the procedures we follow on the day spraying takes place.
If ground spraying is going to be carried out we make sure we tell the coummunity if it is going to be done with high pressure equipment such as a gun, hose or boom. Every property adjoining the boundary of the property being sprayed is notified. Often this is done via public notification in local newspapers or by individual correspondence.
Signs are placed at all access points to the site to advise the public that spraying will be taking place.
We also work with Friends of QEP and other park stakeholders to make sure that they have been notified and can share this information with their members.