Velvetleaf must be fully removed: MPI

AGGRESSIVE WEED: Croppers have been urged to remove velvetleaf before it spreads further in New Zealand. File picture
File picture

THE weed pest velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) has been found in fodder beet crops in the North and South Islands and croppers have been urged to act now to find and remove this aggressive weed and stop it spreading further in New Zealand.

It is a serious cropping weed, potentially affecting many arable crops by competing for nutrients, space and water. It is an unwanted organism in New Zealand.

“Individual velvetleaf plants produce up to 15,000 seeds so a small problem can quickly become a large one,” an MPI spokesman said.

“The presence of velvetleaf is associated with the importation of contaminated fodder beet seed.

“Farmers, particularly those who sowed fodder beet seed in 2015, should check their properties carefully. If you find velvetleaf, remove it and dispose of it, ideally before it goes to seed.”

Velvetleaf is an annual broadleaf weed that grows between 1m and 2.5m tall.

  • has buttery-yellow flowers about 3cm across. It flowers from spring through autumn.
  • has large, heart-shaped leaves that are velvety to the touch.
  • plant has distinctive seedpods with 12 to 15 segments in a cup-like ring. Each seedpod is about 2.5cm in diameter.

If you find velvetleaf, follow these instructions

If the plants have no seeds or if seed pods are green

  • Record the location of the plant/s so it is easy to find again for future monitoring.
  • Pull out the plant. Bag the whole thing using a large bag (for example fertiliser bag or sack).
  • Dispose of the bagged plant/s by deep burial (at least 1m) or in a covered offal pit.

If the seed pods have turned black

  • Carefully place a large bag (like a fertiliser bag or sack) over the plant’s seed capsules and tie the bag tightly around the stem. It is important to make sure all seed heads are contained within the bag.
  • Bend the velvetleaf plant in half so that seeds cannot escape out of the neck of the bag.
  • Carefully pull the plant out, bag it again, and dispose of it by deep burial (at least 1m) or in a covered offal pit.
  • Inspect the rest of your crop to ensure there are no more.
  • Re-inspect your fields before grazing your fodder beet crop.

“MPI is continuing to work with partner organisations to manage velvetleaf,” the spokesman said.

“In particular, regional councils have been funded to work with farmers who planted risk seed to develop management plans for their properties. The aim is to find it, contain it, and safely remove plants.”

If you have questions about velvetleaf, contact your regional council or email info@mpi.govt.nz

THE weed pest velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) has been found in fodder beet crops in the North and South Islands and croppers have been urged to act now to find and remove this aggressive weed and stop it spreading further in New Zealand.

It is a serious cropping weed, potentially affecting many arable crops by competing for nutrients, space and water. It is an unwanted organism in New Zealand.

“Individual velvetleaf plants produce up to 15,000 seeds so a small problem can quickly become a large one,” an MPI spokesman said.

“The presence of velvetleaf is associated with the importation of contaminated fodder beet seed.

“Farmers, particularly those who sowed fodder beet seed in 2015, should check their properties carefully. If you find velvetleaf, remove it and dispose of it, ideally before it goes to seed.”

Velvetleaf is an annual broadleaf weed that grows between 1m and 2.5m tall.

  • has buttery-yellow flowers about 3cm across. It flowers from spring through autumn.
  • has large, heart-shaped leaves that are velvety to the touch.
  • plant has distinctive seedpods with 12 to 15 segments in a cup-like ring. Each seedpod is about 2.5cm in diameter.

If you find velvetleaf, follow these instructions

If the plants have no seeds or if seed pods are green

  • Record the location of the plant/s so it is easy to find again for future monitoring.
  • Pull out the plant. Bag the whole thing using a large bag (for example fertiliser bag or sack).
  • Dispose of the bagged plant/s by deep burial (at least 1m) or in a covered offal pit.

If the seed pods have turned black

  • Carefully place a large bag (like a fertiliser bag or sack) over the plant’s seed capsules and tie the bag tightly around the stem. It is important to make sure all seed heads are contained within the bag.
  • Bend the velvetleaf plant in half so that seeds cannot escape out of the neck of the bag.
  • Carefully pull the plant out, bag it again, and dispose of it by deep burial (at least 1m) or in a covered offal pit.
  • Inspect the rest of your crop to ensure there are no more.
  • Re-inspect your fields before grazing your fodder beet crop.

“MPI is continuing to work with partner organisations to manage velvetleaf,” the spokesman said.

“In particular, regional councils have been funded to work with farmers who planted risk seed to develop management plans for their properties. The aim is to find it, contain it, and safely remove plants.”

If you have questions about velvetleaf, contact your regional council or email info@mpi.govt.nz

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