Poisonous plants

One of your health and safety responsibilities as a board of trustees is to protect people at your school from poisonous plants. You need to check for and dispose of poisonous plants.

Protecting people from poisonous plants

A number of plants, shrubs and trees in New Zealand are poisonous to people. Many of them are common garden plants.

Poisonous plants at your school are a hazard that you must manage in order to keep safe students, staff and anyone else using the school grounds.

Health, safety and wellbeing

This will help you meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 — NZ Legislation website (external link)

Checking for poisonous plants

Check for poisonous plants that may be:

  • growing at your school
  • hanging over the school fence from neighbouring properties where students can reach them.

To identify poisonous plants, refer to factsheets available from Landcare Research.

Poisonous plants — Landcare Research website (external link)

Disposing of poisonous plants

The best disposal method will depend on the type of plant. Some options are to:

  • pull out plants and burn or compost them (if no seed heads are present)
  • take the plants to your council landfill, after checking with your council that it will accept them
  • spray the plants.

Before you use spray, you need to know about using agrichemicals in schools.

Hazardous substances on school sites

For advice about the best option, contact Landcare Research.

Contact Us — Landcare Research website (external link)

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback