If suddenly you
notice your garden or the bush draped in a light green cloak, pretty yet
smothering, chances are you have the weed Balloon Vine. If not
controlled it will spread to cover trees, fences and garden sheds.
When young, the
plants are seen heading skywards, perhaps up trees or just into thin air, or
trailing on the ground; when older, hanging in cascades of hemp-like stems.
Seedlings appear as a miniature forest of delicate green, the taller plants
beginning to elongate.
The softly hairy light-green leaves are divided
into leaflets with ragged edges. From the stem at the base of each leaf stalk
coils a wiry tendril. The thin stems are green and covered in light brown hairs,
while the thick older stems are greyish and rough to the touch.
flowers in mid-summer are small and white. These develop into the surest
identifying feature: pale, papery, balloon-like cases about 4cm diameter, each
containing three black seeds.
& Removal Methods
Pull out seedlings and
young plants and dig out the roots of mature vines. The vines up high will die
when their stems are cut, and can be left. However if you prefer not to have
dead drapery whilst the old vine breaks down, it can be pulled off without
breaking your host plant by either getting up there and cutting it away, or
pulling it like hauling in a fishing net, swinging the support tree (if it is
supple) and pulling strongly and carefully as the tree swings towards you (and
coiling the “rope”). Move to different sides of the tree as needs be, so not to
pull branches back towards the trunk and break them.
Bin the seedcases.
Cut up and compost the rest or put it out with Council’s Green Waste collection.