Step 2: Get to know gorse

Picture of Get to know gorse
First we get to know our Weed.

Botanical Name: Ulex europeans
Common Name: Gorse
Family: Fabaceae

Gorse is a very invasive plant happy in just about any soil, it thoroughly enjoys full sun and detests and dies in shade of any kind. The seeds are released by heat (both hot sun and fire) and are catapulted from the plant 2-3 meters, and remain viable in the soil for what some predict is 70 years.

As a member of the Fabaceae family (Nitrogen fixers, which include common plants like the garden pea) it is my understanding that Gorse does have the ability to capture and use atmospheric Nitrogen which is ultimately released to the soil and other plants.

This Nitrogen fixing capacity would also tend to be confirmed by recent research also linking Gorse to assisting in the destruction of our water ways by leeching Nitrogen directly in to waterways] Leeching Nitrogen directly in to waterways)'

Nitrogen is one of the Macro nutrients that all living things require in order to make proteins
(Plants get it directly from the soil, animals via their food.) Nitrogen in particularly promotes lush green growth in plants. (Note the N.P.K on most fertiliser - represents Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium the three macro nutrients)

Introduced in to New Zealand as a hedge / ornamental plant from a cooler climate it soon ran rife in NZ warmer climate. The sharp spines forming the foliage ensure it remains essentially unpalatable to most animals, while its high viability seed and enjoyment of clear sun ensure it spreads and re grows well in bare landscapes

How not to effectively get rid of the Gorse plant!

It appears to be common practice to in the urge for a fast out come to first spray and then burn the foliage, the gorse just loves us for it assisting with its life cycle;

First we spray it - and generally succeed in also removing any other herbaceous plants that may be able to compete after we remove the shade from the gorse bush above it.
Then we burn the dry gorse foliage, they heat of which happily release the fire proof seed and flick it all around in to the soil that we make even more acceptable by a nice coating of ash as mulch. The seed are long viable so have no trouble having a rest and then popping up again next summer.