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How to Manage Madeira Vine

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This rather lovely and innocuous looking vine is actually an invasive pest with a particularly aggressive streak. Madeira Vine originates from South America and grows particularly well in sub-tropical climates so well in fact that council advice is to attempt to contain outbreaks rather than eradicate it all together.

The Madeira Vine was introduced to Australia in the 1950s and planted next to the outdoor toilet as the leaves were said to have a laxative effect, it was also a common sight under the Christmas tree.

There are basically two methods for getting rid of Madeira Vine:

  1. Poison it
  2. Pull it out by hand

When removing the vine be careful to pick up any dropped tubers as these can sprout. If you can, lay down a plastic sheet before you remove the vine to catch and contain any tubers. NEVER add Madeira Vine to your compost or green waste rubbish as this will simply spread the vine.

Given that I want to turn the backyard into an edible paradise poisoning it is out of the question. In fact, for the past week I have been removing the vine by hand and wrapping in plastic rubbish bins, then adding these to the general waste rubbish. Despite the fact that this is the official advice, I have visions of the vine spreading out over the Rubbish Tip and engulfing rusting bicycles, dented fridges, piles of plastic bags enshrouded by virile greenery.

I have recently read about liquid fertilizing and wondered whether this method would be a safe, environmentally-friendly, chemical-free method for reducing any further threat. I have found two websites which recommend this method: Wilsons Creek Landcare & Vera Street Community Garden. The thing is that the tubers can stay dormant for over 5 years so I need to make sure that the tubers are completely decomposed before I add them back into the garden ecology. Thus, I am concerned whether this might work at all.


6 responses »

  1. I have just found another method for getting rid of madeira vine after you have removed it: leave it in the sun to dry out for a few days and then burn it. Just be careful of any fire restrictions in your area.

    • why don’t you try eating them-it’s of the same family as the ceylon/malabar spinach and is delicious It is good for the cardiovascular system, for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and much more…!

  2. Ranging pigs under the vines will probably clean up tubers too 🙂

    Drying out nutgrass in the sun is effective (weed-tea less so), so I expect it to work on madeira vine tubers too. Once they’re dead it should be safely compostable.

    • Yeah, I’ve looked into using chickens or goats to clean up the vine. After all, goats eat anything right? But the research I’ve done suggests that Madeira Vine is toxic to some animals and is suspected to be toxic to others. I wouldn’t want to take the risk of poisoning them:

      Madeira Vine Fact Sheet

      Toxic to Pigs

      Toxic to Ruminants

      I went on the tour of Northey Street Farm this morning and the tour guide said that Madeira Vine is one of the few weeds you shouldn’t make weed tea with. So there goes that idea too.

      About the only thing, apart from pesticides, that seems to be recommended is drying it out in the sun and then burning it or bagging it and disposing of it in the trash. Madeira Vine should never ever be put into the compost as it can sprout up to 5-10 years later.

  3. Did Northey Street say why it shouldn’t go into weed soup? I’ve been doing that for a while now. I chop up the tubers with a spade before drowning them and leave the covered bin for as long as it takes to look safe. Possibly it is inadvisable because people might try to use it too soon?


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