Jasmine - Delicate or dangerous?
October's pest plant of the month
Don’t let it’s looks deceive you - it may look delicate, but jasmine, smothers other plants, blocks out native seedlings, and damages our native bush.
Left unchecked, the vines can completely take over an area of bush, preventing natural regeneration and damaging existing trees. Unfortunately jasmine is also shade tolerant, so it can still survive under the tree canopy, deep in the bush.
Importantly for our native animals, an area of bush or a backyard full of jasmine does not support native birds and other wildlife. So we need to stop it taking over.
So what can we do about it? And how can you identify it?
Read on to find out more.
Why is jasmine a threat?
The delicate looking vines grow quickly and may not stop until an area is covered in jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), eventually forming a dense ground cover and smothered trees and shrubs. Our native trees and plants don't have a defence against it. Our native birds and other wildlife rely on those native plants to thrive.
If you have jasmine in your garden and you just leave it, you wouldn’t be able to see much else after enough time. But you can do something to prevent jasmine becoming a problem and restore and protect our natural areas and your backyard or garden. First up, you need to know how to recognise it.
How to identify jasmine
Features - see accompanying photos:
Leaves are small, dark green and pointed - usually arranged in 7 leaflets
Stems are long, tough and wiry
Flowers are white, around 25 mm wide and formed in clusters
Flowering is mainly in spring, but can flower all year round
Flower buds are often pink
Only climber with fragrant white flowers
What can you do about it?
Spread the word
Talk to your friends, whanau and neighbours about the threat from jasmine, show them this article, or tell them that Pest Free Kaipātiki have advice and resources to help.
Tell them about the PFK Community Toolshed where they can borrow equipment and tools to help tackle jasmine and other pest plants.
Report the presence of jasmine in reserves and other public spaces, or if you know of large infestations near areas of buch on private property. Download the ecotrack app to report sites directly.
Tackling pest plants like jasmine help to support our native birdlife and other wildlife.
Getting rid of jasmine
Dig out small infestations
Repeat removal after 3 months to remove regrowth
Larger infestations can be cut at ground height and again at 1-1.5m from the ground.
Gently remove any vines that come away easily, but do not risk damaging the plant being smothered by pulling. This allows other plants to grow unhindered and allows you to see jasmine regrowth.
If large infestations can not be dug out, consider using a herbicide treatment - see below.
For roots that have been dug up you can:
Place in your landfill waste collection
Leave in a container of water until the roots have decomposed
Place in heavy duty weed composting bag until decomposed
See all our pest plant disposal information on our website.
Cut the vines close to the ground and at about 1-1.5 m off the ground. Apply metsulfuron gel e.g. Cut’N’Paste MetGel*, to the end still attached to the roots.
If the vine is very thin, you can scrape the surface of the vine for 10-20cm and apply the gel to the scraped surface.
Check 3 months after initial application and repeat control if necessary.
Large infestations: Other control methods may be more appropriate for large infestations, such as foliar spraying. Get in touch to receive specific advice about spraying.
*Always read the labels when using herbicides and wear appropriate protective equipment where necessary. Be careful applying metsulfuron* near water bodies and near valued plants - only apply a very thin smear of the gel on the cut stems and do not allow the gel to drip on to other surfaces.
Whichever control method you use, always try to return after 2 or 3 months and look for missed vines and seedlings.
What can you plant instead?
If you have jasmine on your property, please consider getting rid of it (see next section) and replacing it with some better alternatives. Good alternatives to jasmine are:
Leafless clematis - Clematis afoliata
puawhananga - Clematis paniculata
kaihua, akakiore, New Zealand jasmine - Parsonsia heterophylla
Kōhia - Passiflora tetrandra
Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) • Weedbusters - Check out this page for lots more photos.
See section 21 of the Plant me instead booklet
How can you help restore Kaipātiki?
Recognise - Learn what pest plants and native plants look like
Report - Report locations where pest plants are damaging native plants or entering native bush
Remove - Find out how to control pest plant and get supplies from our Community Toolshed
Restore - Plant natives to stop pest plants coming back and to support our native wildlife.
If you have an area of pest plants threatening an area of bush or reserve near you, get in touch and we can help.
Find more information about pest plants on our other pages: