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

Ash tree dying back to lower sprouts in Kempner TX
June 19, 2010 - My 2 year old ash tree leaves dropped, appears dead, branches dying. New growth near base of tree. Do I cut upper trunk or remove entire tree? My other ash is doing well.
view the full question and answer

How to prune wild mustang grape vines.
July 11, 2011 - Now that my mustang grapes are harvested. When can I trim them out of the tree top and redirect them to an arbor where I can reach them next year? The main vine is at least 3" across. The vines from...
view the full question and answer

Winter trimming and shaping of native perennials
November 08, 2006 - Granted, it's a bit early, but for planning purposes: What is the best care for shrub-like woody perennials, like Lantana, Copper Canyon Daisy, Salvia greggii, Chile Pequin, Eupatorium wrightii, Pav...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming Texas Mountain Laurel
March 30, 2008 - Two questions: 1. My mountain laurel (10 yrs old) has never had blooms. Is this a gender plant issue? 2. I have been seeking a groundcover that grows in shade and will take foot (dog) traffic. ...
view the full question and answer

Corkscrew willow damage to roof in Detroit, MI.
August 13, 2009 - I have a corkscrew willow (Detroit, MI) that is huge and whose branches hang on top of the asphalt shingles of my mobile home. It has now been discovered that these shingles, under the branches, are ...
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