25 Jul 2017

An organic weed killer being used by the Christchurch City Council is proving effective, as Council moves to significantly reduce its use of the potentially dangerous weed killer glyphosate.

Council voted last year to limit the use of glyphosate, commonly sold as Roundup, and move to an organic alternative, along with hand-pulled and mechanically removed weeding. 

Council staff spray organic weed killer in parks around the city.

A Council staff member sprays organic weed killer as part of the Council's weed management programme.

Christchurch City Council Operations Manager Neighbourhood and Sports Parks Al Hardy said Council was now using 40,000 litres of organic weed killer each year.

“As soon as the Council made a decision to reduce the use of glyphosate, we made changes to our practices. We’ve been using a product which is a combination of natural pine oil and fatty acids. It is a non-residual and non-selective herbicide.

“We’ve had a few members of the public asking us about the spray we are now using, because it emits a fairly strong smell. This product is completely safe and the smell comes from the fatty acid, which has a particularly pungent scent. The pine oil is used to help mask the smell. Our suppliers are currently working to enhance the product to minimise the issue of smell” Mr Hardy said.

“We’re confident we’ve chosen the best organic product for use around the city, and want to reassure residents that the strong smell is nothing to be concerned about. Council chose this product as it eliminates any potential risk of Carcinogenic properties Glyphosate may contain. It’s an organic product that carries the ‘BioGro’ certification and is consistent with Councils environmental plans and policies.”

Glyphosate is now only used on sites closed to the public or places where no other method is practical.