How to make spore water
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How to make spore water

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How to make spore water

How to make spore water


Spore water is the solution made from bridal creeper rust spores and rainwater. This method was developed by Bev and Dean Overton on Kangaroo Island (South Australia) as a quick and efficient method of redistributing rust to areas infested with bridal creeper. While the method has not been scientifically tested, its use in the field under the right conditions has been successful.

This is what rust on bridal creeper looks like.

Spore water does have some limitations. It must not be seen as a complete answer to bridal creeper management. Consideration should be given to other control methods such as herbicides and other biocontrols.

Adapted from Kangaroo Island APC and Asparagus Weeds Committee's Presentation

Step one collecting spores

Step One – Collecting Spores

The rust produces millions of spores from pustules on the leaves of the bridal creeper. They can be seen rising in an orange cloud when foliage is disturbed.

To collect spores do the following-

  • Find the closest nursery site by contacting your local weed control officer.

  • Cut foliage infected with rust and place into a plastic bag

  • 2 x 60 litre garbage bags full of foliage will be sufficient to make 200 litres of spore water.

  • Keep cut foliage moist.

  • Can be stored in the plastic bags for up to 48 hours.

  • Remember not to remove ALL the infected foliage. Leave enough behind to continue controlling the bridal creeper in that area.

  • Best time of year to collect spores is when production is highest, which is usually August and September.

    Safety tip – always use gloves and a face mask when working with rust infested bridal creeper as breathing in spores may aggravate any pre-existing respiratory ailments. Always get land holders permission to remove plant material, particularly from national parks and state reserves.

Adapted from Kangaroo Island APC and Asparagus Weeds Working Group Presentation

Step two making spore water

  • Spore water is simply the combination of the rust spores and rainwater.

  • Submerge the cut foliage into the rain water and agitate until all spores are washed off the leaves.

  • Or

  • Place leaves on a sieve and wash spores off leaves as shown here

Step Two – Making Spore Water

Final slurry should look something like this

A rate of 4 kg’s of leaf to 100 litres of rain water is a good rule of thumb.

Adapted from Kangaroo Island APC and Asparagus Weeds Working Group Presentation

Step 3 get ready to spray

Step 3 – Get ready to spray

  • Sieve the slurry for the final time to get rid of any leaves or bits that could clog the spray unit.

  • Pour into a suitable spray unit. This could be any type ranging from hand held spray bottles, backpack sprayers to misting sprays mounted on the back of a ute.

    Safety tip – remember your protective gear. Wear high visibility vests if working on road sides. Always notify landowner before spraying.

Adapted from Kangaroo Island APC and Asparagus Weeds Working Group Presentation

Step 4 spray away

Step 4 – Spray Away

You have spore water, it’s in a spray unit, it’s time to get the bridal creeper wet !

  • The best conditions to spray in are –

    In a light rain with light winds and high humidity.

    Spray in late afternoon, rather than in the morning.

  • The best spray method is –

    Start at the top of the infestation and work downwards, spray until run-off, paying particular attention to the underside of leaves and use as fine a mist as possible.

Adapted from Kangaroo Island APC and Asparagus Weeds Working Group Presentation

More of step 4 things to consider

More of step 4 – things to consider

Because there is no threat of off-target damage, spore water can be liberally applied to bridal creeper in all areas where it occurs, including native vegetation and near water courses.

  • Spray the spore water solution as soon as possible after mixing, as the spores will die the longer they are kept in solution.

  • Try to keep the spore water solution agitated while in the spray tank to minimise the spores sticking to the sides of the tank.

Spore water can only be effectively used in regions where rainfall exceeds 400mm. In dryer areas consider using other biological controls, herbicide or physical removal if practical.

Adapted from Kangaroo Island APC and Asparagus Weeds Working Group Presentation

Step 5 monitor

Step 5 – Monitor

  • Monitoring of your spray site is important so that work is not unnecessarily duplicated.

  • Follow-up monitoring of the release sites should take place a month after initial spraying. If no sign of the rust is seen within two months then another dose of spore water is required. Remember the spore water technique does not work in all areas. Repeated failure to establish may indicate that a different application technique is required for your area.

  • Spore water is still a new concept that is only now undergoing rigorous scientific research. Please consider keeping meticulous records of success or failures and forwarding these to the national bridal creeper coordinator. The more information we get, the better we can refine this process. Please use the monitoring protocol available from the

Adapted from Kangaroo Island APC and Asparagus Weeds Working Group Presentation

Step 6 take a bow

Step 6 – Take a bow

Sit back and watch as the rust knocks back the bridal creeper. This should give you ample spare time to tackle the other weeds in your patch !

If you require any additional information contact

Dennis Gannaway

National Bridal Creeper Management Coordinator

Email [email protected]

Tel (08) 8303 9748

GPO Box 2834

Adelaide SA 5001

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has confirmed that no registration is required for the use and manufacture of spore water as long as it is not packaged and sold.

Adapted from Kangaroo Island APC and Asparagus Weeds Working Group Presentation

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