Wick wipe

Wick-wiping involves the direct application of herbicides to weeds, via a wick/curtain of material brushed directly against the target plant.

This method of control is suitable for removal of large growing weeds in pasture situations where taller plants such as exotic tussock grasses such as giant rats tail grasses, appear amongst lower growing desirable vegetation.

Before you attempt to implement wick-wiping, make sure:

  • you have identified target weeds correctly
  • that there is suitable “height separation” between desirable and non- desirable vegetation type
  • that you have selected a suitably registered herbicide for the weeds to be controlled.


The equipment you will need is:

  • hat, safety eyewear, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, covered footwear
  • face shield, garden gloves, ear protection and shin guards
  • Equipment can be mounted onto a vehicle or hand-held, and is applied from a ropewick or rotating carpet wiper saturated with concentrated herbicide.

Now you are ready to start wick-wiping.

For large areas tractor slashers are most appropriate while a mower or whipper snipper may be suitable for small to medium areas. Whipper snippers are usually used in conjunction with both machines to manage areas not accessible to the larger machines, for example along fence lines.


It is crucial to the success of this treatment method that the plants that a distinct height difference occurs between beneficial pasture species and weeds. Always monitor treated areas for small, missed plants and remove by chipping or spot spraying.

Perennial weeds (plants that germinate and seed through many years), need to be “wiped” before seed production to prevent further seed entering the soil seed bank.

The process requires small volumes of herbicide and should only be applied at label approved rates.

Clean up

All equipment should be cleaned away from stormwater drains and at least 50 metres away from water courses.

Try to use the same area every time you clean equipment. This will help you to identify and treat weeds that appear. Target the hard-to reach areas with a hose or a brush.

More information

For more information send an email to the Invasive species team.