The key to knowing how to control Cape Ivy is to know when to control it. The best time to weed, or spray is before it flowers each year.
What is Cape Ivy ?
Delairea odorata (syn Senecio mikanoides) or Cape Ivy is a perennial plant that grows as a ground cover or climber, and it will become a weed. Leaves are bright green, fleshy and shiny, ivy-shaped with 5-7 lobes. Leaves are arranged singly on alternate sides of the stem and are variable in size. Flowers are conspicuous clusters of small, unpleasantly scented yellow, daisy-like flower heads. Cape Ivy flowers from July to September.
Why is it a problem?
Cape Ivy is a perennial climbing or scrambling plant that has become a real problem weed in many areas. The botanical name is Delairea odorata and it has large glossy mid green ivy shaped leaves (see picture right).
Flowering from winter to spring it will self seed and it also spreads easily by vegetative means, so a little but dropped on the ground is easily on the way to putting down roots and a new plant commences.
One of the big problems is that Cape Ivy will climb and scramble over other plants and eventually smother them. If spreads easily, and as birds like the seeds, they spread it as well. Its also poisonous to many native species. It is a weed that is a big problem in Australia, and a huge one in California. We look at how to control Cape Ivy and eventually kill it off altogether.
Controlling Cape Ivy
Two basic control methods are available.
This is another one of those plants that breaks easily, so weeding is difficult. However if you are vigilant you can, over time eliminate it by weeding. Make sure that you do not let it set seed or the process of eradication will be extended.
Chemical control of Cape Ivy is effective and can be used in two ways. If you cut back and dispose of the major growth and them paint the stump or cut portion near the ground you can kill the roots.
Spraying major infestations may be required, however you do run the risk of killing everything else as well as spreading herbicide everywhere.
If you weed, you will also need to dispose of removed material.
Seal in a plastic bag and send to the tip.
Let it dry out on some galvanised iron and burn it.