28 Oct 2010

Wild kiwifruit vines still a major Bay of Plenty pest

10:58 am on 28 October 2010

Wild kiwifruit vines escaping into the environment is a major pest for the Bay of Plenty, smothering native and exotic trees.

Over the past 10 years the council has worked with kiwifruit grower organisation NZKGI to destroy more than 25,000 wild vines, but says thousands more still need to be controlled.

Senior plant pest officer John Mather says more effort is required from kiwifruit growers and farmers.

He says much of the spread is due to bird-borne dispersal of seeds from tonnes of reject kiwifruit, which is taken to farms as stock feed.

Mr Mather wants farmers to cover the piles of fruit with mesh to exclude birds.

He says a number of research projects are underway on turning waste kiwifruit into bio-plastics and compost.