I have always loved vines. To me they mean grapes (and therefore wine 🙂 ), beautiful ivy covering old brick buildings, passion fruit or some beautiful flower like wisteria. Or that’s what they used to mean. Now they mean pests, tree killers, light thieves and back ache.
The farm has been left to its own devices for at least 2 years. In that time trees, fences and anything that didn’t run fast was taken over by creepers. I don’t know exactly what kind of vines they are but there are 2 major culprits: Balloon Vine (Grandiflora Cardiospermum) with its sturdy, ropey stems, light green leaves and puffy seed pods-cum-flowers; and an ivy-like vine with dark green leaves and little roots or suckers growing from the vine and grabbing onto the host tree. I think the ivy is a bigger problem because it’s harder to remove and it’s on more of the trees which I’m sure will kill them. Not, of course, if I kill the vines first!
When we initially came to the farm, there was no light getting into the master bedroom and most of the back verandah was draped in this Balloon Vine. It was my first vine-eradication effort.
This poor mulberry was trying to produce berries and leaf buds. Well, it was actually succeeding even through this heavy, ivy-like vine. It was the 2nd project I tackled.
I hacked and pulled and tugged and got rid of the vines around the base of the tree. I’m hoping they will die off up in the tree and then be easier to rip down. Even if not, it’s got to be better for the tree to have lost that heavy shade cloth draped from top to bottom.
The next plant I plan to tackle is this cactus (Cereus peruvianus?). It’s taller than a 2 storey building but it’s easy to not even notice it’s there. It’s got both of the pesky vine-types growing up it. How long can a cactus live in a plant-cave?
Each one of these projects takes me multiple hours. And there are trees ringing the property and vines everywhere. I’m going to keep working in order of importance (based on which plants I think are most vulnerable) and may just get on top of these vines before I’m unable to escape their stranglehold. Wish me luck!
Update 7 August: Thanks Ruth for identifying the Balloon Vine (Grandiflora Cardiospermum) so I don’t misrepresent it as Chinese Lantern any more. I really need some horticultural training. I’ve got so many new species to identify!