Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Herbicidal control of bridal creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) in an ecologically sensitive environment

Manfred Jusaitis
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

South Australian Seed Conservation Centre, Botanic Gardens of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia and Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. Email: manfred.jusaitis@sa.gov.au

Pacific Conservation Biology - https://doi.org/10.1071/PC17010
Submitted: 30 March 2017  Accepted: 29 October 2017   Published online: 16 November 2017

Abstract

Asparagus asparagoides (bridal creeper) is a highly invasive noxious environmental weed in southern Australia. It poses a severe threat to biodiversity and conservation in temperate natural ecosystems. Pterostylis arenicola, a threatened terrestrial orchid endemic to South Australia, is directly imperilled by this weed in most of its remnant populations. The coincident growth phenologies of orchid and weed make for an ecologically sensitive environment when considering methods of weed control or eradication. To minimise impact on the orchid and its ecosystem, this paper examines the efficacy of herbicide application for A. asparagoides control using the weed wiping technique, comparing it to the conventional spray application method. The most prolonged control of A. asparagoides was achieved after a single wipe-application of 1.5 g a.i. (active ingredient) L−1 metsulfuron methyl, either alone or in combination with 120 g a.i. L−1 glyphosate, both treatments giving significantly better weed control five years after treatment than comparable spray applications. An investigation of the effect of glyphosate on cultures of the mycorrhizal fungus isolated from P. arenicola indicated a significant decline in mycelial growth with increasing herbicide concentration over the range 0.5–3.0 kg a.i. ha−1. These results provide further incentive for the use of ecologically sensitive herbicide application techniques, such as weed wiping, in areas of high conservation concern.

Additional keywords: glyphosate, metsulfuron methyl, mycorrhizae, Pterostylis arenicola, sandhill greenhood orchid, terrestrial orchid, threatened plants, weed wiper application


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