Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) is a Weed of National Significance that kills native bushland by smothering plants. We don’t like it.
It was introduced as a garden ornamental, with its pretty white flowers and bright green foliage it was also a favourite of bridal bouquets – hence the name. Now it is a menace that has pushed its way into the Katanning area.
Landcare are leading an offensive against the weed in a number of neighbouring Shires, and our family is making a small contribution by adopting, I mean murdering, a little patch of the plant we found in the roadside vegetation near our house.
Today we hit the plant again, for the third year in a row, removing all the foliage and gently pulling it out where we can. It can take 7 years to kill a single plant. So we figure we’re three sevenths of the way there!
Removing the leaves and stems works in two ways. Firstly, it stops the plant flowering and fruiting, therefore limiting the spread of the plant by birds and foxes who like to eat the red berries.
Secondly, Bridal Creeper dies back completely in summer. It stores sugars in its underground tubers which give it the strength to survive over the dry period and re-emerge again the following autumn. By removing its leaves, the plant can’t photosynthesize, therefore can’t make enough sugars. It’s like stopping a squirrel from storing acorns for the winter, or a bear not putting on enough fat to get through hibernation. Eventually, the tuber will be so depleted that it won’t make it through the summer. That’s Year 7. They’re tough.
So today, we cleared out our little plant again, and have taken the cuttings home to burn.
See you again next year Bridal Creeper. We’ll be ready for you.
If you have Bridal Creeper, check out the weed control information and report it to your local authority.