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Published: 2003-06-23 00:00:00

Landowners don’t have long to clear pampas from their properties before a July 1 deadline. 

Environment Waikato has been raising awareness of invasive pampas grass in the Region and wants to give landowners advice on effective control methods.

The Council wants pampas totally cleared from Waipa District, Hamilton City and the eastern part of Waikato District from July 1. Taupo, Rotorua, South Waikato, Otorohanga, Waitomo and Matamata Piako Districts and the Hauraki Plains already have a total control rule under the Regional Pest Management Strategy.

Environment Waikato wants to ensure people can recognise the plant and where it is growing.
A very invasive grass, pampas forms dense impenetrable stands and reduces visibility on roadsides, and along railways. It smothers native plants and competes with young pine trees in newly planted forests. Pampas is also a fire risk and provides habitat for animal pests.

Common pampas has fluffy white flowers which appear in mid-March. Purple pampas begins flowering in late January and has purple tinted flower heads, which turn to brown later in the season. The flower heads of both the common and purple pampas stand straight upright while the native toe toe has fewer flower heads, which are less fluffy but droop more. Toe toe begins flowering November and continues into January.

Common pampas and purple pampas are widespread throughout the Waikato Region, with numerous infestations in the Franklin, Thames-Coromandel and Waikato Districts. Where the plant is used as hedging an exemption may be granted so it can be mowed, contained and prevented from seeding annually.

Environment Waikato is encouraging progressive removal of all plants – but it’s a big job. Effective control requires total removal of rhizome fragments and the crown as they will quickly re-establish if moisture is available.

Effective control can be achieved by spraying the foliage with a suitable herbicide. People who suspect they have pampas should contact their plant pest officer on 0800 BIOSECURITY (0800 246732) so plants can be identified and work begun to remove them.