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Killing Gorse

Yes we have the plague of gorse, not too bad overall but some slopes are covered in the stuff. The plan is to eliminate the gorse over the next few years. The easy answer is to get a contractor to spray it all, and I may follow that route, but its not cheap, nor is the alternative of getting proper weed killer. I have cut down an area of gorse, (its good for the soul) but this will not kill it and I will have to go back and kill the stumps.

Update Feb. 2012

I was using Neil Currie (0274 922 671) and his huge digger to carve a couple of tracks and dig a pond in the fields, so whilst he was here he cleared a couple of banks full of gorse. This has to be the quickest way of doing it, not sure its the cheapest, but certainly cost effective if other work is required. Neil charges $125 per hour plus GST but he works fast.

Oct 2012: Neil has ripped out a lot more gorse. SEE:The Lost Field (paddock)

Ripping out the gorse

Local farmers told me I would get a carpet of new gorse shooting up as soon as we pulled it out. Glad to say that has not happened, mainly grass with an odd weed that's all, up 'til now! Oct 2012, the locals were correct, lots of gorse shooting up, at least spraying it is easy.

Rainbow and Brown MSF 600

Further down the page you will see reference to Rainbow and Brown, a NZ company based in Rotorua that's been going for 12 years. I had spoken to a couple of local farmers and they recommended their products. R&B only sell mail order or online, I added my MSF 600 (gorse zapper) to my shopping cart plus a penetrant and went to checkout with my credit card, I filled in my address and password, then surprise, no demand for payment, goods shipped next day and an invoice would be sent for payment on the 20th of the next month, only in NZ!

Using MSF600 will be much cheaper than using the Dow Tordon range, so long as it works. My farmer advisor told me nothing happens for 6 weeks with all of the herbicides so early May 2012 I will report back

Yes, MSF600 does work, but as with all herbicides, you need to be thorough in spraying all the bush.

I have also used glyphosate with a wetting agent, that also seems effective, but will kill anything else in the spray zone. I have been told adding a little diesel to the mix, enables the herbicide to stick to the gorse, but I will leave that alone, not very good for the environment. The glyphosate used was Rainbow and Browns Granny and superwetter, a fairly cheap way of buying. No I am not getting a kickback from rainbow and Brown

In the meantime I have looked up a couple of forums and filtered out some of the best advice on doing it yourself.


A general view is that fire just distributes the gorse, as seeds can withstand 800 degrees C. but achieving temps. of 1000C. will kill them. The gorse has to be dead to get the higher temperature, burning dead gorse creates a very hot fire, which can kill up to 50% of the soil seed bank and also leaves a tidy site. Fire may be the only viable option for reducing the above-ground mass of gorse in pasture, particularly on steep banks.

Theoretically, fire could be used on an annual basis to reduce soil seed to near zero levels within 10 years. In practice, there is never enough fuel to get a hot burn in young gorse. Cool or running fires in gorse only burn off leaves and spines, and tend not to damage much seed in the soil.

Hotter burns can be achieved by rolling, breaking or spraying gorse prior to burning. Run over gorse with a bladed tractor, tracked machinery or similar to break it off prior to a burn.

Because burning live gorse destroys competitive cover and promotes re-growth and germination, it must be followed-up with spraying, establishment/maintenance of pasture and grazing.

Chemical warfare

Tordon Brushkiller XT.

The price has come down and it now costs $650 - $699 for 20 Litres, depending whether it is on special or not. You also need Pulse (Nufarm) or Boost (Dow) or Organosilicone (RD1) penetrant to speed the uptake during times of the year when it is not actively growing (like now) and reduce the Rain-Free period to 20 minutes.

And of course, it is recommended to use the pink marker dye (RD1's Country Mile brand is the best price) otherwise you will end up spraying some bushes twice, and missing others. If the bushes are above knee height, you need to spray them from at least two sides, or some parts will not be poisoned.

It takes between 3 and 6 weeks for the entire bush to die, depending on the season, nothing grows back, whereas with Roundup, some parts usually do grow back.

Dilution Rate for a Handgun or Backpack is 250mL per 100L. Put this into the tank first, followed by 50mL per 100L of pink marker dye. Then fill the tank almost to the top before adding penetrant at a rate of 100mL per 100L. At this point you will get a lot of foam, so that's why it is best to add it last. Walking around will mix the penetrant sufficiently, or if you have a powered sprayer, switch on the recirculate function before you start spraying, and then you will have a nice homogeneous mix.

That's about everything you probably need to know for now. Best to go shopping and get the ingredients and while you are doing so, compare prices at RD1, PGG Wrightson and Farmlands, because they can vary significantly.

It is most economical to buy a 20L container of Tordon Brushkiller, 10L container of Boost or 5L containers of Pulse/Organosilicone, and 5L of Pink Marker Dye. One of each of those will generally last me most of the season.

P.S. Tordon Brushkiller XT will deal with the following (but it won't harm your grass, unlike Roundup):

- Gorse - Woolly Nightshade (aka Tobacco Weed) - Blackberry - Thistles - Deadly Nightshade - Ink Weed - Ragwort

The only thing it won't touch is Australian Sedge!

Another opinion

OK, after years of spraying the stuff I will chip in with my $0.02 (if that is still legal tender!)

What you spray with depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Glyphosate will kill the grass but not the clover. If you have a problem establishing clover but grass grows well this may be the best solution.

Tordon etc will at best stunt, and probably kill the clover but not the grass.

Metsulferon will kill everything and persists in the soil for some times so is not a good choice for hill in high rainfall areas. It will also travel through the soil with water so you may end up with a big dead streak down the hill.

Most herbicides need the addition of the correct penetrant to work well with gorse. Be aware there are two basic types and they do not work with all herbicides - you need to find the one for the herbicide you are going to use.

The time of year you spray will have a large effect on how quickly and how well the gorse dies. Spring and late summer (if no drought) to autumn will give good results. Winter and drought times will not be so good.

Any chemical does not translocate well in gorse so full coverage is essential. Thick bushes will die off on the outside exposing the internal stems which did not receive any spray and these will regrow quickly. For large bushes it is best to cut and stump swab but sometimes you may need to spray the outside growth to open the underneath up to access the stems.

I use Rainbow & Brown's Grassmate which is identical to the old Tordon Brushkiller and is a blend of Picloram and Triclopyr. Gives good results if used in the right concentration with the right penetrant at the right time of year with full coverage!

R&B also have a range of weed sheets that you can download with all the spray information for each weed.

Also read this Aussie PDF:

SEE:The Lost Field (paddock)

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