Erica Erica spp.
Erica is an escaped garden plant originally from south-western Europe. It is a hardy perennial shrub, growing up to 3m high, with a woody branched root system. This root system is the key to controlling Erica; if you snap it off, the plant will sucker making control efforts much more difficult.
Erica starts actively growing in late winter through to spring when it flowers prolifically. Depending on the species, the colour of the flowers ranges from white, pink and purple. It can be spread by birds, water, earthmoving and dumping of plants with seeds.
Isolated plants can be grubbed, burnt or cut down and swabbed immediately with a woody weed herbicide. Be wary of snapping off roots as the plant will sucker.
Large infestations can be bulldozed or slashed and the regrowth can be controlled by spraying or burning with a follow up spray.
Large plants can be cut near ground level and the stump can be frilled with an axe or knife and then swabbed with herbicide immediately.
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Erica is often thought to be a native with its heathy appearance, but once it flowers it is quite easy to identify. Try not to confuse it with the native Common Heath (Epacris impressa) which has:
- red/pink/white bell shaped flowers with 5 petal lobes
- leaves sticking out at right angles to the stem