Resource Library

Ground cover plants

DATED: 01 Nov 2012

Version: Plant pests - Ground cover (Issue 2)


Periwinkle (Photo: Weedbusters).Periwinkle (Vinca major) Photo: Weedbusters.

What does it look like?

This prostrate, scrambling, hairless, evergreen perennial forms dense mats of long running stems with roots at the nodes. The leaves are dark green and glossy with pointed tips. It has violet tubular flowers all year round.

Why is it a problem?

It forms dense carpets smothering and preventing native regeneration.

How do I get rid of it?

  • Small areas may be covered with weed mat for 6-12 months; or
  • Weed wipe year round with 500ml glyphosate (360g/l e.g. Round-up®) + 2ml penetrant per 1 litre water; or 
  • Spray with 200ml glyphosate +1g metsulfuron-methyl (600g/kg e.g. Escort®) per 10 litres water. Avoid using within the drip-line of species you want to keep.

Control methods for ground cover pest plants

There is a range of methods available to control pest plants. The following recommendations – which are only a sample of those available – are based on safe-use methods that have proven effective.

  • Physical removal of the plant and all fragments to a land fill is the best organic method.
  • Slashing, mowing or otherwise removing plant material and then treating the stumps or regrowth reduces the amount of chemicals needed.
  • Apply chemical within 10 minutes of cutting.
  • Spray is recommended for large areas. For gun and hose or aerial rates contact the regional council’s biosecurity team.
  • Penetrant aids the uptake of herbicides – there is a range available, e.g. Pulse®, Boost®, Freeway, Dewdrop, Kiwi Buddy Uptake crop oil. 

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY and follow all instructions and safety requirements.

More information

For further information or control advice please contact one of our biosecurity team at the Northland Regional Council on 0800 002 004.

More information on these and other pest plants is also available at: