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:
- Poison it
- 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.