Fire aftermath a chance to control bridal creeper

News article |

The conditions in the wake of the Bangor bushfires are providing an ideal opportunity to control the highly invasive weed, bridal creeper.

Greening Australia vegetation consultant Anne Brown says a spraying program carried out by Natural Resources Northern and Yorke (NRNY) – now in its third year – is making a significant difference to the population size and vigour of the weed.

"There are few positives to be found in the aftermath of the Bangor bushfires, but the opportunity to control the population of bridal creeper in the Port Germein Gorge is one of them," she says.

"The fire removed almost all of the above ground native vegetation in the gorge area and the February rains following stimulated the growth of bridal creeper.

"This weed can now be easily seen and controlled with herbicides without causing significant damage to native vegetation growing beneath it."

The weed management program is part of the Living Flinders project – a collaborative approach to conserve the unique flora and fauna of the Southern Flinders Ranges.

Bridal creeper – Asparagus asparagoides – is a highly invasive weed that is a significant threat to bushland.

The plant, native to South Africa, has spread from gardens and cemetery plantings to many parts of the Southern Flinders Ranges.

It is a common weed found along fence lines and under trees in the townships of Laura, Wirrabara, Melrose and Wilmington as well as drier areas such as Telowie Beach and Telowie Conservation Reserve.

Ms Brown says while it was hoped a rust fungus outbreak would help control the fruiting of the bridal creeper, the region’s seasonal conditions have not been favourable to the growth of the rust.

"Unfortunately, once established, bridal creeper is extremely difficult to control and a significant infestation at Beetaloo Valley has affected more than 20 properties and is spreading further along roadsides every year," she says.

"A lot of work is being done by the Beetaloo Valley Residents Association, SA Water and NRNY to contain the weed.

"It must be controlled by careful application of weedicide to avoid harming native vegetation growing underneath the bridal creeper. Digging the tubers is often ineffectual and can lead to further weed infestations."

For more information contact Natural Resources Centre Northern and Yorke on 8841 3444 or Greening Australia 0409 684 312.

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