Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vines Kill Trees

Don’t they?
People will believe the most astonishing things. I recently heard of this “reason” being trotted out as justification for killing some lovely native vines, which had been living inoffensive lives in a particularly beautiful patch of local vine thicket.
The man in question was so sure he was right, that he was surprised that his neighbours, the owners of this particular patch, were offended by his actions!
Sadly, however, there ARE vines which kill trees.
We see them in our local gullies, creek and river beds and sheltered valleys, smothering everything from giant trees to small shrubs. They prevent new plants from regenerating, so the whole area of bushland is eventually destroyed.
But not one of these killers is a native Australian plant. All the smothering vines that you now see blanketing so much of our bushland were introduced to Australia by our nursery industry as ornamental plants. No doubt they were seized upon by innocent Australian gardeners with glee, because of their cover-up qualities. What better thing to plant next to an ugly fence, a backyard dunny, or a tumbledown shed?
Many of them are pretty things, too. We still see them in gardens, occasionally, but of course no responsible person would grow one nowadays.
The most familiar of these killers, in our district, are cats claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati), balloon vine (Cardiospermem grandiflorum), Madeira vine(Anredera cordifolia) morning glory (Ipomoea species), asparagus vine (Asparagus africanus) and moth vine(Araujia sericifera). But there are plenty more of them out there, probably including some still selling in nurseries. A newly feral plant in this district is bridal creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) also known as florist’s smilax. No prizes for guessing how it came to spread around the country in the first place!
They all take to the bush with glee, preferring “disturbed” areas - a good reason for maintaining our local bushland in good health, with as little disturbance as possible and its full natural complement of native vines.
This was very good vine country, once, so any natural landscape would have contained a large variety of vine species.
And NONE of them would have been killing the trees!


Mick said...

hello Trish,

You sound a bit cranky about the vine thing. I understand.

I think that the vine I would most like to see gone from my place is climbing asparagus. But there is some cats claw up the road that seems to be creeping closer so maybe I will change my mind in the future.

On a positive vine note I have recently found some lovely natives naturally regenerating at home including cayratia acris. I suspect not everyone would be as excited about it as I am but ... horses for courses.

Righto then

Patricia Gardner said...

Did I sound Cranky?
I suppose I am. I do my bit with a bush regeneration group, and it's a never-ending job. Worth it? I don't know.