Like many people in New Zealand, I have a “gorse problem”. Gorse grows on my property because the land is bare and the soil contains little mycorrhizal fungi. Gorse, like other weeds, is quite happy taking it’s nitrogen from Nitrates in the soil. The plants that I would prefer require their nitrogen in the form of ammonia. The mycorrhizal fungi transforms Nitrates into ammonia.

Since I can’t fix my soil over night I have decided to try and control the gorse manually until I can get my soil biology to the desired state.

Over the winter I have been using a mattock to grub out the rootball and the larger roots of gorse bushes. It is important to remove the rootball as the plant will regrow otherwise.

It is now spring and all of the remaining bushes are in bloom. Although I have well over half of my 9 Ha cleared I am unlikely to be able to get to the rest before they go to seed.

Since a plant expends a great deal of energy producing flowers, the plant is weaker at this stage. My strategy for the remaining plants is to mow them down and hope that in their weekend state they will die.

After mowing, the spreader is coming in to add 500Kg per hectare of lime to help breakdown the clay soil. I am also adding 20Kg per hectare of zeolite to help with moisture and nutrient retention. The goal of this is to encourage Soil biology activity by improving the moisture and nutrient quality of the soil. Further down the track I will be taking steps to increase the levels of mycorrhizal fungi which will make conditions less conducive to the growth of gorse.