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It’s easy to spot Chilean Fire Creeper over the summer months in Otago and Southland. It is an invasive vine that smothers trees.
Unfortunately, birds like the berries after the flowers have gone which spreads the pest further.
Chilean Fire Creeper is not controlled by Councils. It is considered a pest plant but without funding to respond to the problem which is in its infancy now. The longer it is left to establish the bigger the problem becomes as it spreads into forest margins.
Take some time to look out for new infestations. The brilliant red flower shows up in gardens, roadside, farm trees and shrubs.
The best plan is to pull out the plant and roots when it is young. If the vine is more established a herbicide may be needed. Check out this website for more information. https://pesthub.es.govt.nz/?pwsystem=true&pwid=637&sort=alpha
Best to act early rather than leave the vine to take control of more of our environment. Community action can make a big impact. We can’t just wait for “someone else” to do the job.
- By Christine Stephenson, who is active in community weed control in Whangarei. Christine has been visiting Southland for over 30 years