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
6 ratings

Sunday - July 27, 2008

From: Myrtle Beach, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: How to get rid of invasive wild bean vine
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

An invasive vine has taken over our beds, mostly wherever we have asiatic jasmine ground cover. We seem to be the only people nearby with this problem, and the volunteers with our local master gardener's group had trouble identifying the speciman I brought them. The closest guess seems to be wild bean vine, and that seems to match their pictures -- three leaves, small pink/purple flower in spring, insignificant little bean-like things here and there, and a tuber shaped like a fat carrot. Digging the tubers (nearly impossible to dig through the groundcover to do so) and pulling the vines only seems to encourage it. I have cleared entire areas, turned over soil and disposed of every tuber, but thousands of vines come back with renewed vigor, rise above the good groundcover, twine around each other, then fall to create a mat if they don't find any vertical surface to climb. "Painting" all those tentacles with insecticide would be an impossible task. Any suggestions, other than destroying all the groundcover beds and replacing with concrete?

ANSWER:

Mr. SP is very curious about what vine you have. Do you mean Strophostyles helvola (amberique-bean)—also known as trailing wildbean or wildbean—or Strophostyles umbellata (pink fuzzybean)—also known as pink wild bean or trailing wild bean. These are both native species to South Carolina that have the common name "wild bean" but I couldn't find any information that indicated that they were invasive. Also, nothing on the Invasive Plant Pest Species of South Carolina list matches your description, so I'm not sure what you are dealing with. If you would like for us to try and identify it, please send us photos. Please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to read instructions for submitting photos under "Plant Identification." A positive identification could lead us to sources who have dealt with the invasiveness of the species.

You aren't going to want to hear this, but I think short of digging up the entire area and starting over, you are going to have to try to dig them up or cut them off at the base and paint the area that has been cut or broken with an herbicide (being very careful not to get it on your other desirable plants). Painting each of the "tentacles" wouldn't be as effective as getting to the base of them and painting the part that is attached to the roots. Visit a reputable plant nursery and ask for their advice on which herbicide to use.  Read the instructions on using the chemical and the safety warnings carefully before using and then follow them.

This isn't going to be easy—but if you are vigilant and persistent, you should eventually conquer this pest.


Strophostyles helvola

Strophostyles umbellata

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

A vine to atract hummingbirds in MO
March 08, 2011 - I am looking for a non invasive vine to plant on a trellis near buildings/brick patio to attract hummingbirds (and other birds and butterflies).
view the full question and answer

Controlling pumpkin vine in British Columbia
July 15, 2008 - I have never grown pumpkins before but decided to try one plant this year. It seems to be taking over my small garden space. Can I prune it back? I only want one or two pumpkins for my grandchildre...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Do monarchs like Cynachum laeve in Austin, TX?
May 29, 2012 - I have found what I believe is Honeyvine (Cynanchum laeve) growing in my yard here in Austin. I tried using the LBJWC plant data base and could not find it. I also found the plant with a diff...
view the full question and answer

Ivy a suitable ground cover in Live Oaks from Gulfport MS
April 17, 2014 - Will Ivy be a safe and suitable ground cover for old growth Live Oak trees in coastal Mississippi?
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