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Climbing asparagus

Climbing Asparagus

Progressive containment

Climbing Asparagus

Progressive containment

Reduce the amount of climbing asparagus and limit the locations that have it.

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Why it is a pest plant


Production threat Environmental threat Public threat

Identifying features

Climbing asparagus is a perennial scrambling vine that climbs to approximately 6m. It is capable of smothering seedlings and saplings and shading out, strangling and ring barking larger trees. Climbing asparagus is able to grow in semi-shade so it can invade forest areas, making it a serious threat to native plants. Once established, climbing asparagus is difficult to eradicate.

Climbing asparagus spreads by:

  • birds eating the berries and dispersing large amounts of seed
  • root tubers and stems running along the ground
  • moving contaminated soil and the inappropriate and illegal dumping of garden waste.

A native of South Africa, climbing asparagus was originally brought into New Zealand as an ornamental garden plant. It has spread since then to many native forest areas, including infestations found on the Coromandel Peninsula and Raglan.

Identifying features

Climbing asparagus can reach several metres in length. It forms underground mats of small, white tuberous roots in bush margins, tree fall gaps, hedges and wasteland areas.


  • Small white flowers in spring.

Fruit/ seed

  • Large numbers of orange-red berries.


  • Feathery, fern-like leaves, 5-15cm long and in groups of three.
  • Leaves lie in one plane (will lie flat on your hand).

Climbing Asparagus

Responsibility for control

All landowners/occupiers in the Waikato are responsible for controlling climbing asparagus on their properties. Climbing asparagus is also banned from being sold, propagated, distributed or included in commercial displays.

How to control climbing asparagus

Climbing asparagus wraps itself around its hosts, making it difficult to spray without affecting other plants. Physical control may be preferable to herbicide control as it causes less damage to other plants.

Physical control

First, cut back the leaves and stems of the plant then dig out all roots and tubers. Tubers should be burned and totally destroyed.

Herbicide control

Best results are achieved from spring to early summer.

Cut stump treatment

Cut stems 60-100cm above ground level and immediately spray the remaining foliage with herbicide until wet, but not dripping.

Spray application

A ‘weed wiper’ sprayer can also be used to spray the plants. If using a weed wiper, allow the wiping area to become fully saturated before starting and make sure the wiping area remains moist and clean.

Safety when using herbicides

  • Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label.
  • Always wear protective clothing.
  • Always minimise the risk to your other plants.
  • Contact the supplier for further advice.

Disclaimer: Any product names mentioned below are not an endorsement nor are they a criticism of similar products not mentioned.

Summary of herbicides and application methods for control



Glyphosate gel Cut stump treatment.
Glyphosate Spray application.
Herbicide rules will apply. You may need to notify neighbours if spraying. The Waikato Regional Plan explains the agrichemical (herbicides) use rule in section 6.2


After initial control, it’s important to:

  • clean out the site again at least annually to control regrowth
  • stop weeds invading by replanting with non-pest plants (preferably native plants) once regrowth is no longer a problem.

More information


  • For advice and additional information on control methods, call our pest plant staff on freephone 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732).
  • Chemical company representatives, farm supply stores and garden centres can also be good sources for advice.


View, download or order the following publications or call our freephone 0800 800 401.

  • National Pest Plant Accord (Manual of plants banned from sale, propagation and distribution) ($10.00 plus GST)
  • Plant Me Instead! (Plants to use in place of common pest plants) (free)
  • Waikato Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) (free) (Section 5.8, page 56)
  • Waikato Regional Council pest guide (free)


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