I live in north Auckland, and bit off a lot more then I can chew in terms of a rural block. Because of its prickliness, density and label as a weed, I formed a negative opinion of Gorse - which grows on the back of my lifestyle block (lifestyle block = small holding) - mainly near the stream and far side of my property - unsurprisingly the difficult area to reach.

I have clay soil.

I recently drove down to Wellington and the Wairarapa and noticed that (a) Gorse is everywhere and (b) It is actually quite pretty in bloom. This has got me thinking if I should be re-evaluating my opinion of it, and if so what values it brings

Questions -

  1. Should I be considering Gorse as a weed or a beneficial plant - if the
    latter, what benefits does it provide ?
  2. Is there a natural way of displacing gorse without spraying it with weed killer or hurting myself in the process? What can I displace it with?
  3. Is my tentative observation that Gorse does not really take hold in a mowed area, or in areas with other dense weeds/grasses. Is this an accurate perception?
  • 1
    The traditional way to control it on moorland in the UK is to burn it off. But take care, it contains a lot of natural oils and is very flammable. It can be cut and used for fuel, but it burns very fiercely compared with most wood. It is also a high-protein food source for livestock, if you crush or grind it. Some animals will graze on it especially in winter if there is little else available. The natural oils are used in herbal medicine, etc.
    – alephzero
    Sep 26, 2018 at 9:15
  • Nothing that grows more than a few inches tall "really takes hold" in mown areas. That includes gorse, and most other shrubs and trees!
    – alephzero
    Sep 26, 2018 at 9:17
  • For gardeners, a weed is any plant that is in the wrong place! Yes gorse is pretty in bloom, also the UK gorse in amongst rocks & bluffs can grow into some wonderful bonsai-like shapes. I've never had to fight it though! If it isn't causing a problem then I would leave it or just occasionally keep it in check.
    – winwaed
    Sep 26, 2018 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


Gorse is an imported noxious weed. It has few redeeming features in our landscape. If you can't access the area to clear it, then maybe some fenced off goats will eat it for you but then what to do with the goats after that.

From several decades of observation, native bush will eventually outgrow it, shade it and then kill it. But on vertical clay hillsides it has no real competition.

Some people consider it useful as a nursery species for native trees, and to help prevent erosion.


  • "Gorse is an imported noxious weed" - which country (or countries) are you referring to? If by deduction from your link it's NZ, you just got your own back by exporting your flatworms (Arthurdendyus triangulates) that eat our earthworms ;)
    – alephzero
    Sep 26, 2018 at 19:49
  • From your link "Gorse does so well in New Zealand that it flowers twice a year," - that's not doing well at all. When it's doing well, it flowers continuously all 12 months of the year!
    – alephzero
    Sep 26, 2018 at 19:52

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