En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Invasive vines in azaleas in South Carolina

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

Monday - July 07, 2008

From: St. Matthews, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Invasive vines in azaleas in South Carolina
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have saw briars and wild jasmine, and cow itch vine that has invaded my azaleas, and would like your input on how to get rid of them without completely destroying my azaleas. Thanks

ANSWER:

You have a real problem, and no mistake. These are all native vines, all pretty aggressive and all are going to be difficult to remove.

Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier) - difficult to eradicate because of its underground rhizomes, making it very resistant to herbicides.

Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower) - also called yellow jasmine. All parts are poisonous.

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) - also sometimes called "cow-itch vine"

Getting undesirable vines out of desirable plants is a huge challenge. You don't dare spray a herbicide because it would take down the azaleas, probably faster than the vines. If you try to pull out the vines, it will result in damaging the azaleas, pulling off leaves and flowers. Likely your only chance is perseverence and stubborness. With gloves on, begin to clip off the vines wherever you can get at them. Clip them into small enough pieces that they can be unwound without unnecessary violence to the plants you are trying to save. Keep working back to close to the soil, and then try to work the root or rhizome out of the ground, again without damaging azalea roots. You can, of course, start by cutting every vine stalk as close to the root as you can get, and then waiting for a while until the vines without roots start to turn brown, making them a little easier to find, identify and remove. You can also try painting that cut root surface with an herbicide, using a disposable foam brush. If and when you get the bed cleaned out, you will have to be constantly vigilant. All of these vines are very persistent and they will come back from underground roots, rhizomes and seeds. It's much easier to pull them out when they're very young than after they grow up-but you already know that. And dispose of the cuttings in such a way that seeds will not have a chance to resprout.

 

From the Image Gallery


Saw greenbrier
Smilax bona-nox

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

More Vines Questions

Possibility of growing Smilax pumila (Wild Sarsaparilla Vine in Virginia
June 13, 2006 - Hello, I am inquiring about a plant my grandmother keeps telling me about. It's called sarasee (sp?). It's supposed to have some medicinal properties like helping with a cold and things of that nat...
view the full question and answer

Can a mustang grape and an oak coexist in Austin
November 04, 2009 - I have a healthy mustang grape vine growing on an oak in my yard. While the vine provides plenty of good food and a pleasant environment for many birds throughout the year, I feel it is overtaking the...
view the full question and answer

Growing Grapes in Southern Texas on an Arbor
July 02, 2014 - I've redirected several grape vines (from the top third of a broken oak tree) onto an arbor. The base of the vine is about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. Is it feasible to work with (prune) the smaller b...
view the full question and answer

I need an evergreen vine to hide an ugly fence.
February 24, 2009 - I am looking to find a vine that will be on my south facing fence. I would like it to be evergreen as to hide my ugly fence.
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of passion flower in Tunbridge Wells England
April 08, 2013 - I planted my passion plant 3 years ago and I have really looked after it. I think this winter has killed it, it looks so dead. I hope it can be saved; there isn't one part of it that is looking healt...
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