Last month at Ormeau we carried out treatment to stop the spread of a very invasive weed called Ipomea cairica through the batters of a bio basin.
You may have seen Ipomea cairica, also known as Mile A Minute or Coastal Morning Glory (amongst other names), as it is quite a common vine-like weed seen alongside highway roadsides with its pretty trumpet-like purple flowers. Unfortunately, those pretty blooms belong to a vine which can cause huge problems for not only native plants, but for the wildlife that rely on those native plants.
As you can see by the photographs below, Ipomea cairica can totally take over other native vegetation by creating a thick dense and heavy blanket of foliage, and its weight can cause quite a bit of damage to the structure of the trees and plants while also smothering them.
You can see by the next group of photographs that great care was taken while we manually carried out the cutting-off of the vines from the trees (around waist height) to further avoid any nearby larger trees or existing limbs on affected trees getting pulled down during the process. This is to enable a chance for other natives plants to grow and take over. The rest of the foliage was spot sprayed on the ground.
Why is the removal of weeds like Ipomea cairica important?
Aside from structural damage it can cause, killing the top of the vine will allow light to reach the trees which were being smothered, rain will also now reach deep root systems.
Removal of the dense blanket of vines also frees up the ground area to allow safe passage for any native wildlife to migrate, forage for food, or to find mates during breeding seasons. Birds and other tree dwelling animals will now be able to access native trees for nesting and food, and pollinators can also now do their job in helping the growth cycle of the native plants.
For more information on this invasive weed, be sure to check out our article by our field member Brooke via this link: Weed of the Week – Ipomea cairica.