In response to community reports of the declared weed bridal creeper the City of Mandurah partnered up with the Peel Harvey and Leschenault Biosecurity Group's to host a workshop on effective control methods.
Leschenault Biosecurity Group project officer Julie Chapman shared her experience with collecting and distributing bridal creeper rust in the Leschenault area. The rust is a biological control that landholders can use to control the spread of bridal creeper.
Attendees were made up of the City of Mandurah staff in the natural areas bushcrew and city park teams, local NRM professionals and PHBG officers.
"It's great to see staff and local environmental managers keen to upskill and manage weeds like bridal creeper. The weed is deceptive because it isn't the actual vine that does the damage when bridal creeper invades healthy bushland," Ms Chapman said.
Bridal creeper creates an extensive underground root mat. When left to mature a bridal creeper infestation can have a root mat that is almost impossible to remove without heavy duty machinery.
Bridal creeper is a declared weed due to it's highly invasive nature and ability to spread into different ecosystems.
Like many weeds it was introduced into Australia as an ornamental garden plant and became a common choice in bridal bouquets.
The rust was introduced into Australia in 2000 to help control bridal creeper and reduce its ability to spread. The rust infects the weeds leaves and stems reducing the plant's availability to grow and reproduce.
Bridal creeper rust becomes active in autumn becoming prolific over winter and into spring where it causes bridal creeper leaves to go yellow and fall off. The rust can be easily collected and landholders can help it to spread.
"Landholders will know bridal creeper rust is ready to collect when you apply sticky tape to the back of the bridal creeper leaf and it comes away with fungal spores attached. This is generally around August to September," Ms Chapman highlighted at the workshop,
"Then it is as easy as removing the bridal creeper foliage and agitating it in a bucket of water. Landholders can then strain the water straight into a backpack sprayer to apply to healthy bridal creeper infestations."
Alternative control methods include herbicide treatments with recommendations found on the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Developments website. Manual control should be done carefully to prevent the root mass breaking into smaller pieces which can then produce additional plants.
Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group weed education officer Teele Hooper-Worrell said that landholders who see bridal creeper in the local government areas of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Mandurah, Murray, Waroona or Harvey can report the infestation to the group.
"I didn't realise how easy it was to collect and redistribute the rust. Now the PHBG has another tool we can provide to our landholders to support them in their control of declared pests," Ms Hooper-Worrell said.
For more information on the PHBG and their upcoming workshops email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.PHBG.org.