Moth plant: act now before pods form

08 February 2018

Now is the time to destroy any missed moth plant vines, while they are still clearly visible and flowering, and before pods form or mature.

Moth plant is a South American vine; invasive in New Zealand and unfortunately well-established in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and the coastal Bay of Plenty where it can heavily infest orchard shelter belts. The large seed pods open over winter months to release hundreds of wind-blown seeds.

The simplest and most effective control method is to use a sharp spade and chip the vines out of the ground. Mature moth plant vines are not easy to kill with herbicide: cut the vine to within 20cm of ground level and apply one part glyphosate to five parts water, plus a sticker such as Pulse, to the vine base.

Moth plant harbours passion vine hopper, slows down orchard shelter trimmers and is a poisonous plant. The sap can cause severe dermatitis, so wear gloves, protective clothing and consider eye protection.