En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - September 16, 2007

From: Uncasville, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Pruning, Vines
Title: Control of out-of-bounds Virginia creeper
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our Virginia creeper (Woodbine) has outgrown its planned location this past summer. What is the best way to prune ivy stems for next years controlled growth?

ANSWER:

We're not sure that "controlled growth" is an appropriate or even achievable goal for the culture of Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper). Here in Texas, it is pulled up and vilified by a lot of people finding it in their gardens. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we enthusiastically support the use and propagation of native plants in the landscape, but maybe we're not equally supportive of every native plant. This University of Connecticut horticulture website can tell you a little bit more about it on your home turf. Two things you should note about using it in your landscape are, first, the berries are highly toxic and may be fatal if eaten. The birds like them, and don't seem to die, but people shouldn't try it. The second thing is, even in Connecticut, Virginia creeper is considered invasive. With its sucker-like stem ends allowing it to climb up trees, shrubs and structures (and people, if you don't move around fast enough) it is very hard to keep in a designated space. Constant vigilance is the best bet, and don't let it get started up any plant or structure you don't want it in. Those suckers really hang on, and can leave marks on walls or fences if you do manage to pull the vine off.


Parthenocissus quinquefolia

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Dead portions on oak tree in Hutchinson KS
August 22, 2011 - I have an oak tree on the property I just moved into. One tree is healthy, the other has a dead side or almost dead. It did have some new green leaves on the dead branches but not many. What should...
view the full question and answer

What to do about volunteer trees growing beneath a large live oak tree in Austin, TX
January 08, 2013 - We have a large live oak tree. Several volunteer trees are growing directly underneath it and into its branches. I want to cut them down if they are going to hurt the long term health of the live oak....
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Texas Mountain Laurel
April 15, 2008 - My +/- 4 yr old Tx. Mountain Laurel, has never bloomed. It is in full sun. I sometimes (minimal) fertilize it. I've pretty much planted it and let it grow. Its been pruned back last year when som...
view the full question and answer

Will a cut back yucca grow back in Lockbourne OH?
October 28, 2009 - I live in Ohio and recently I cut back all my plants to prepare for winter. I am wondering if my Yuccas will grow back. I cut them to ground level so only a little bit of the leaf is showing. I was...
view the full question and answer

Need pruning advice in northern Michigan
October 27, 2010 - Is it OK to prune my evergreen bushes and holly in October in northern Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center