How to control velvetleaf

Velvetleaf could be in any crop. You can control it if it's on your farm. Find out what to look for, how to control it, legal implications if it's on your farm, and get guides to take with you.


Have you found velvetleaf on your property?

Report it so that we know about it. Take a photo of it and call us on our pest & disease hotline (0800 80 99 66). The photo will help us to identify it. If you do have velvetleaf, then we can help you develop a plan to manage it. This is important so that we can understand how velvetleaf is behaving in New Zealand, and so that we can provide you support to manage it.

Unwanted Organism information

Velvetleaf is an Unwanted Organism in New Zealand. This means there are legal implications for people with it on their land.

  • You must not move velvetleaf plants and seed or allow them to be moved off your property.
  • You need to find, remove and dispose of any velvetleaf plants as explained in the velvetleaf fact sheet.
  • If velvetleaf plants have set seed in any crop on your farm, it is illegal to remove that crop from the property.
  • It is vital that you remove any velvetleaf plants before they flower and set seed.

What you can do

If you find velvetleaf, remove it and safely destroy it. You can follow these instructions:

If the plants have no seeds, or if seed pods are green

  • Record the location of the plant(s) so it is easy to find again for future monitoring.
  • Pull out the plant. Bag the full plant. Use a large bag (like a fertiliser bag or sack).
  • Bury the bagged plant(s) deeply (at least 1m underground), or in a covered offal pit.

If the seed pods have turned black

Mature black velvetleaf seed pod top showing seeds inside
A matured seed pod.


  • Carefully place a large bag (like a fertiliser bag or sack) over the plant's seed capsules. Tie the bag tightly around the stem. It is important to make sure all seed heads are contained within the bag.
  • Bend the velvetleaf plant in half so that seeds cannot escape out of the neck of the bag.
  • Carefully pull out the plant and put it in a bag again. Bury it deeply (at least 1m underground), or in a covered offal pit.
  • Inspect the rest of your crop to ensure there are no more velvetleaf plants.


How velvetleaf spreads

The major pathway we have seen velvetleaf spreading through is dirty maize harvesting machinery and maize silage movements. Velvetleaf can also be spread by:

  • soil movement
  • stock movements
  • other feed (like silage)
  • dairy effluent
  • vehicles and machinery (like diggers and crop harvesters).

Rural contractors have a major part to play in preventing velvetleaf from spreading between properties.

Download a guide

We have guides with information on what you can do to control velvetleaf. This includes a farm management plan, a 'ute guide', and information about stock grazing, stock movements, and managing farm equipment to prevent spreading velvetleaf.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you're finding it stressful dealing with velvetleaf, we encourage you to call the Rural Support Trust (0800 78 72 54) for a free, confidential chat.

If you have questions about velvetleaf:

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