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Also known as
What does it look like?
Scrambling & climbing plant. Long green, thin, wiry stems (2-4 m long) that are much branched at the top. Fine, fern-like foliage, small, delicate leaves. Tuberous roots. Tiny white flowers (Sept-Dec), followed in Oct- February by round green berries that ripen to red-orange (berries 8mm in diameter). Can also grow in trees as an epiphyte.
Why is it a problem
It is a very shade-tolerant, smothering vine. This means it can invade even healthy forest with an intact canopy. Once establised it can expand rapidly, smothering the forest floor and understorey up to 4m high, and preventing the growth of established species and preventing all regeneration of native seedlings. It can also ring bark and kill soft-barked shrubs and trees. It has long-lived tubers that resprout easily, requiring follow up control, and well dispersed seeds.
How does it spread?
Birds spread the plentiful seed, and tubers resprout after being spread in dumped vegetation and soil.
How much of it do we have?
Alot – but we are trying to contain the spread while slowly working away at eradication. Climbing Asparagus is throughout Mangawhai, Mangawhai Heads, Langs Beach and the northern side of the Brynderwyn Ranges. The spread is coming out towards Waipu Cove. The fern is not yet on the southern Side of the Brynderwyns nor in Waipu. Focus is on stopping the spread while slowly working away at reducing the weed within area’s it found.
There is a lot of weed control work being done at Langs Beach to knock back the spread, check out Weed Action Langs beach under Take Action, Weed Action groups to join in on the action.
What can we DO about it?
For people living west/ south of Waipu Cove and Baldrock Rd
Be a part of our invisible wall. Keeping seedlings out is much easier then tackling it when it is well established. Be vigilant for seedlings and new infestations on your property and in your neighbourhood, control early and follow up to ensure success.
If we can prevent seedlings from turning into adult plants we can halt the spread and maintain a protective buffer for the south/ western end of the Brynderwyns.
Get in touch with our weed coordinator if you think you have climbing asparagus at your place.
For people living in the denser infestation areas:
You can protect the garden or bush at your place by routinely searching for and treating seedlings and small vines before they become a dense smothering understory that is more difficult to manage. If you already have a dense infestation you want to get rid of, you can implement a regime that will gradually reduce the infestation back to a level where you can maintain it. Team up with your like-minded neighbours so that you have a larger area under control for maximum benefit.
Get in touch with our weed coordinator to help you plan your control.
How do I control it?
- Dig or cut out crowns; a sharp vegetable knife or gib saw can be useful for this. Collect the hard woody rhizome and dispose of at a refuse transfer station, burn or bury. All other plant material can be left on site to rot down.
- Weed wipe (300ml glyphosate/1L water, no penetrant), total coverage not required.
- Spray in spring-early summer, lightly, with (200ml glyphosate/10L water). Do not add penetrant when spraying against tree trunks. Avoid runoff, total coverage not required.
Spray in autumn-winter (in frost-free areas only on healthy growth), with an increased rate of (300ml glyphosate/ 10L water). Infestations of plants taller than 60cm can be cut at a height of 30-60cm then this lower vegetation can be sprayed. The remaining cut material will die without the need for treatment. Spot spray any missed plants within 30-60 days.
Maintain rolling front of control, work in from edge of infestation. Follow up at least 6-monthly for eradication.
CAUTION: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.
Photos of climbing asparagus