Savanna Explorer > North East Queensland > Weeds > Rubber vine and fire

Rubber vine and fire

by Tony Grice, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
From Savanna Burning — Understanding and Using Fire in Northern Australia, Tropical Savannas CRC, Darwin 2001

Rubber vine chokes up river systems and woodlands

Rubber vine infestation chokes out river systems and woodlands
Photo: Colin Wilson

Rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) is an invasive weed that is choking out many woodlands and riverside areas throughout northern Queensland. Not only does it create dense thickets, removing pastoral country from production, it is a refuge for feral pigs and removes ground cover, promoting erosion along creeks and rivers.

Rubber vine is relatively fire sensitive provided the stem base of each plant is heated. Burning in the late dry season will yield high intensity fires that may kill most juvenile plants and 50–70% of adult plants.

High-intensity fire can kill dense rubber vine infestations

High-intensity fires can kill and open up dense rubber vine infestations
Photo: CSIRO

Fires of this intensity need 3–4 t/ha of grass fuel. Burning on hot days during dry spells in the wet season can also be effective. This method has been used in riverside zones and relies on having significant amounts of litter (e.g. eucalypt leaves, branches and similar debris). This litter provides enough fuel to reach the ignition temperature of green rubber vine leaves, leading to an intense fire.