Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 Vines Questions

Virginia creeper in trees
April 26, 2008 - Can Virginia creeper be allowed to climb on trees--specifically Texas ash and live oak--or will it damage them if allowed to attach itself? We are thinking of using it as erosion control in a greenbe...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Star Jasmine poisonous to dogs from Dallas
May 20, 2013 - Is star jasmine poisonous to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine in Stony Brook NY
May 29, 2009 - Identify- vine type, Thorny stem, medium size leaves, color medium green with a jagged-reddish edge, leaf shape oblong, small white flowers. Growing in a patch of English green ivy. Looks invasive. ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a grapevine in San Antonio
May 20, 2009 - I planted a small grapevine that is growing well. I want to move it, (only tiny green grapes now, should be merlot) and wondering if I can do it now, mid May, or do I have to wait until fall? Not real...
view the full question and answer

Need care instructions for Cardiosperma halicacabum in Little Rock, AR>
May 11, 2012 - I'd like to find out how to cultivate & care for a balloon vine/heart seed vine/love in a puff vine which I found growing wild in my yard (in Little Rock, Arkansas). There seems to be very little in...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.