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Kangaroo Valley Environment Group

The latest news on the environment from this community-minded group.


December 2013

The rampant growth of exotic vines threatens the survival of many areas of native bushland within the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. 

The presence of these plants, however, is almost always the result of thoughtless dumping of garden refuse. Once established these vines climb upwards reaching for light and in the process smother the canopies of the native vegetation.  At least nine exotic vines are serious weeds in the Illawarra.

Moth Vine is one of these vines. It is a very vigorous, perennial, twining vine which races to the canopy curtaining all vegetation with its thick rope-like stems and dense foliage. 

Moth Vine is distinguished by its choko-like green fruit which splits open to release masses of white, wind-borne, cotton-like seeds.

Flowers are white, five-petalled and tubular.

Moth Vine typically invades sensitive .and fragile bushland, suppressing the growth of native species and growing into the forest canopy killing trees and creating light gaps ultimately leading to more weed invasions.

As with most vines, Moth Vine is difficult to control.  Young plants can be physically removed, but larger plants tend to leave some root behind, which then regrows.  A variation of the cut-stump technique may be used to treat the vine if it is tangled with or close to desirable vegetation.  Gather a handful of stems and cut them through, dipping the root side ends into undiluted Glyphosate for 3-4 seconds.  Let the treated stems drop to the ground.  The stem-scrape technique may also be used to control Moth Vine where 3-4 centimetres of the stem is scraped and Glyphosate painted on to the wound.  This method enables the Glyphosate to travel throughout the plant achieving an effective kill. Alternatively, where adjacent vegetation will not be harmed, foliar spray Glyphosate at the rate of 1:50.  Re-apply 6-8 weeks later if a complete kill is not achieved initially.  Spray when growth is active, generally when the plant is flowering.

Once control has been achieved, steps may need to be taken to replace Moth Vine with more useful species.  Replacing with native shrubs and ground covers will provide competition and vigorous regrowth and prevent soil loss from erosion.

But remember no matter what method is used, follow up treatments will be required to remove seedlings and/or plants that re-shoot.

Any mature fruit on plants should also be bagged and destroyed to prevent re- establishment and further dispersal of the plant.