1 EAGLETON NOTES: Gorse

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Saturday, 17 May 2008

Gorse

In New Zealand gorse is regarded as probably the most noxious weed to have been introduced. It was apparently used as a natural fence and as sheep feed. During the last century huge programmes of eradication by spraying agent orange did get rid of a lot but also led to huge claims of damage to human health. However it is rarely economical to control gorse on grazing land by using conventional means and much marginal pasture land is reverting to gorse cover.

Control of gorse using biological control agents began in 1989 with six agents having been released so far. This technique is unlikely to provide the type of control achieved with herbicides. Rather, the aim is to reduce the growth rate, seed production and density of gorse.

Driving through Scotland on the way home from CJ's made me realise how much gorse there is in Scotland because it was in full bloom last week.

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