It would be enough to make any self-respecting bride blush, and it’s bound to have Southland gardeners turning a certain shade of red if it manages to get a stranglehold in the region. Bridal creeper – or smilax – has been discovered at two sites in Southland and it’s ringing alarm bells for ES biosecurity staff.
“Until very recently, Smilax was unknown in Southland. We’ve just documented 47 pest plants in the region in a booklet and now unfortunately, we have to add another one to the list” said ES biosecurity officer Randall Milne. “Smilax is one of the worst offenders when it comes to weediness. It spreads easily, grows rampantly, forms a dense ground cover, smothering other growth and is notoriously difficult to control.”
Whilst the discovery of smilax, in both rural and urban areas near Invercargill, was disheartening for ES, it was not insurmountable, according to Mr Milne.
“Education and awareness are the key to keeping Southland ahead of pest plant spread. We’ve done a mail drop in the affected area and we’re asking people across the region to be vigilant about what’s living in their gardens. Now’s as good a time as any to get out in your garden and have a poke around for pest plants.”
Southland gardeners were encouraged to take note of new or particular species getting a foothold in their garden. Anyone with a concern about pest plants could call ES biosecurity staff who will visit the site and provide help and advice on their control or removal.