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

Thursday - April 17, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Vines
Title: Protection from native invasive trumpet vines
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. SP: I have invaders! Trumpet vines from a neighbor's yard, two doors away have taken over and are eating my garage and trying to steal all the sun from my clematis vines. How do I get rid of the aliens without harming my desirable plants? They take root and creep everywhere. Thanks. Under Siege in Austin

ANSWER:

You do, indeed, have a problem. Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) is an aggressive, fast-growing vine that uses aerial rootlets to climb up over buildings, other plants and even layering on itself. It spreads both by suckers and by seeds, a double whammy, and you already know the damage it can do. We really hate to tell you this, but manual labor is about the only way you are going to win this one. Because one of the way it spreads is by underground roots, spraying a herbicide would not result in total elimination, and would very probably harm some desirable plants in the same area. It's going to take a two-fold attack. First, cut down everything you can get at, so it won't bloom and seed any more. Be sure and dispose of these cuttings carefully so they won't seed and spread somewhere else. Pulling those aerial rootlets away from your garage is going to be difficult, but absolutely necessary. Next, start on the suckers. Dig out, pull out or use a hatchet to eliminate as much of the root system as you can. Then, be constantly on the lookout for the suckers. Just pulling them out is not enough, because the presence of a sucker indicates the presence of yet another viable root. If the sprouting suckers are somewhere that you can mow or use a Weed-Eater, that will at least knock them down and discourage them, but you have to remember, this plant is a survivor! You say the origin of the plant is two doors away, which means they are crossing the yard next to you, as well. If you can enlist help from that neighbor in stopping the encroachment of the plant, that will be that much less to spread into your yard.

Trumpet creepers are planted for good reasons - to cover unsightly walls or chain link fences and to attract hummingbirds, both of which they do very well. And, they're not alien invaders, although it seems they are; they are actually natives of this area, which is why they do so well. But, a weed is a plant in the wrong place, and it would seem the Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) is in the wrong place in your yard!

 

More Vines Questions

Identification of cucumber-like plant with red fruit
July 01, 2012 - Hi; My name is Peter, live in Lewisville. When I walked through a park trail last year, I noticed a very strange vine described as the following: It is vine with leaves and stems (size and shape) lo...
view the full question and answer

Vine for house in partial sun in Vermont
July 27, 2008 - we are looking for a climbing vine against the east side of our house, partial sun but need at least 20 feet tall, in zone 4, vermont
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
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

Vine for privacy on a deck in Southern California
December 10, 2009 - I am looking for a climbing vine/plant that is non-flowering and can be grown year round in Southern California. We are looking to help create a private area along a deck for my grandmother because h...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center