Description of gorse, A brief history and methods and cost of getting rid of gorse.
Gorse is a shrub, it can grow up to four meters high, it is green to brown in colour and is very densely covered with branches and thorns. As it grows older it becomes bare around its base, it is also covered in yellow pea like flowers which it has all year around but flourish in the spring. Gorse has very extensive root systems so it is really hard to get rid of.
Gorse’s life cycle.
Gorse reproduces by seeds and can also resprout from roots or small pieces of root. The gorse seedlings have two big oval leaves without stalks and soft smaller leaves that grow narrower and spiky as the plant ages. The gorse resprouts and seedlings flower within 6 months to a year. Gorse normal flowers in the winter through to early spring, but in good conditions it can also flower at other times during the year. When the gorse seed pods mature they explode open and send their seeds flying up to one and a half metres. If the waxy seeds get in waterways or if they get caught on a sheep or other animal they can get spread over large distances. Humans also transport gorse seeds through machinery when they go from one place to another. Gorse seeds can stay in the ground for up to two years without germinating. But most seed germinate after the first autumn rain.
How Gorse got to New Zealand?
Gorse is not native to New Zealand, it was introduced by early settlers around 1830 for hedging and for stock feed in places where good grass wouldn’t grow, the fresh growth on the gorse plant is nutritious but once it has been regularly grazed it turns hard and spiny the bushes then grow quickly with nothing eating it.
Where Gorse is found in New Zealand?
Gorse is found throughout New Zealand on most farmland and hill country it’s found in both the North and South islands and also on Stewart, Chatham, Campbell and Auckland islands. Gorse will grow well if it gets lots of sun light, it adapts and thrives in rocky bare ground or in poor soil and doesn’t need much water.
Types of Gorse in New Zealand
In New Zealand there is only one type of gorse called Ulex europaeus which in Latin means gorse European. Although there is only one type in New Zealand there are a two other types Ulex Galil (Weston gorse) and Ulex Minon (Dwarf gorse).