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Progressive containment


Progressive containment

Reduce the amount of tutsan and limit the locations that have it.

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Why it is a pest plant


Identifying Features
Production threat Environmental threat Public threat

Identifying features – tutsan


  • Tutsan has pale yellow flowers, appearing in bunches at the end of each branch.
  • Flowers appear from November to February.


  • Round fruit are up to 10mm across.
  • Red-coloured turning to black.


  • Leaves are oval, up to 100mm.
  • Pale green on top, bluish-green underneath and turningred-yellow in autumn.
  • No stalk.
  • Usually opposite each other on the stem.
  • Leaves smell of curry when crushed.

Tutsan invades regenerating sites, forming dense stands which stop native plant seedlings growing. It prefers wetter, cooler areas and tolerates light shade. Tutsan also readily invades disturbed forest and shrubland, tussockland, bare land and rocklands, roadsides, coastal areas, steep banks, lightly-farmed land and riparian margins including rocky and open streams.

It has become a serious agricultural and environmental pest in the neighbouring Taranaki region and parts of the Manawatu region, and is on the increase in the Waikato. Once established, its patches can dominate farmland especially lower fertile pasture. Although non-toxic, livestock will not eat it.

Tutsan produces a large amount of seed which may be spread by birds, farm machinery, waterways and stock. Roadside mowing may also spread the seed.

Tutsan should not be confused with Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). Japanese honeysuckle has foliage which appears similar to tutsan, but it grows as a vine. Its crushed leaves also do not have a ‘curry’ scent.


Responsibility for control

All landowners/occupiers in the Waikato are responsible for the control of tutsan on their properties and are required to work with Waikato Regional Council in areas where controlprogrammes are in place. Tutsan is also banned from being sold, propagated, distributedor included in commercial displays.

How to control tutsan

Physical control

Small infestations can be removed by hand. Dig out small patches of tutsan and take care to ensure that all rhizomes (root-like underground stems) are removed. Do follow up control every few months to remove any remaining rhizomes and prevent reinfestation.

Bury or compost the debris.

Herbicide control

Herbicides are most effective on tutsan during spring and early summer while the plants are still fresh and haven’t formed a wax coating. Shaded areas can be sprayed later if the plant is still fresh and hasn’t formed a wax coating to the same extent. Use herbicide at gorse label rates.

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.

Summary of herbicides and application methods for control



Metsulfuron plus penetrant Spot spray spring or early summer.
Triclopyr plus penetrant Spot spray spring or early summer.
Picloram/triclopyr mix plus penetrant Spot spray spring or early summer.
Picloram granules 55g/m2 of ground covered by the dripline of the shrub.
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.
If applying herbicide over water, a resource consent may be required. Please check with Waikato Regional Council before you begin.


After initial control, it’s important to:

  • clean out the site again at least annually to control regrowth
  • in pastures, apply fertiliser then over-sow with a clover/grass mix
  • lift the fertility of the site, which may help prevent seedling growth.

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 5.3, page 46)
  • Waikato Regional Council pest guide (free)

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