The Problem

Nelson City Council approached us looking for a safe and effective solution to tackle thousands of wilding pines.

Nelson City Council was concerned about public safety as the target area was within a public reserve which was actively used by both mountain bikers and hikers – and the operation was planned to take place in the height of summer with an increased fire risk.

The council was also looking to protect both the established native trees as well as the majority of gorse which acted as a nursery for native seedlings.

Along with these factors, Agri Drone Specialists also faced an additional challenge  – the wilding pines were growing over a large area of steep terrain with limited road access.


We worked with Council to mitigate these concerns and developed a site safety plan taking into account the public safety and the increased risk of fire.

When pre-mapping and photographing the area, we identified safe take-off and landing spots and developed our spray plan around these.

We were able to identify the target pines before building our spray plan, and provide the Council with exact numbers and precise levels of spray being applied.


We used real time kinematic (RTK) to build our spray plan and identity each target. The operation was competed with centimetre accuracy with minimal damage to other planting.

Our safety plan ensured minimum disruption and risk to the public during our operation. Our pre-planning also ensured the steep terrain and limited access did not effect the operation.


The results were that almost 4000 conifers were successfully targeted and destroyed with minimal impact on the surrounding bush all with minimal disruption to the public who were active within the operation area.