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?


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
4 ratings

Sunday - October 12, 2008

From: Columbus, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Eliminating wisteria invading from neighboring yard
Answered by: Barbara Medford


How can I get rid of Wisteria vine? It originates in my neighbor's yard. Have tried everything; gets in my Oak tree and has almost killed it. Thanks.


There are 10 species of Wisteria, of which two are native to North America and the other eight are from Asia. It is possible that the plant that is invading your garden is Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) which is native to Georgia. However, it is much more likely it is either Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) or  Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria). The Asian species are the ones most often found in home gardens, and are much more invasive than the natives. It really doesn't matter too much if you have the native or non-native plants, they are obviously invasive in your garden. 

This Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group article Least Wanted-Exotic Wisteria has some information and good suggestions for treating this problem. You are in a situation where you can't fight the problem at its source, and must deal with it after it gets on your property. This is going to require frequent attention, and not letting it get ahead of you. The very first thing you need to do is go out and cut the vine going up your oak tree off at the root and then cut the girdling vines at intervals up as far as you can get. Any time you see a sprout of wisteria coming up, don't just snip it off, try to dig it out. Where the vines come over your fence, cut them off, and paint the cut surface (right away) with a 25% solution of glyphosate herbicide with water. Don't spray it, that will only take out desirable plants around the wisteria. Vines that are coming up on your property should be cut off at the root collar and, again, quickly painted with the herbicide. Be very careful not to let the herbicide run off into the soil, and keep it out of contact with any portion of a desirable plant. A disposable paintbrush is about the best means of applying the herbicide to cut surfaces, but it needs to be done in about the first 5 minutes after cutting, because the wound will seal over. 

As long as the "mother" plant is still alive, there will continue to be incursions into your garden. Don't allow yourself to get lax, or think you have the problem solved because you've treated everything. It will be back!


More Invasive Plants Questions

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

Blackeyed Susans becoming invasive in Fredericksburg VA
August 10, 2009 - Are the roots of the Blackeyed Susan (BES) invasive enough to actually destroy bulbs. BES have moved into a bed exactly where my oriental lilies were..this year the whole row of red lilies (which had...
view the full question and answer

Removal of mature agaves
November 20, 2007 - Hello- we live in Austin, TX and have a bed of different varieties of agave. They are near the walkway to our house, and are so out of control they pose a hazard to our guests walking up to the house...
view the full question and answer

September 12, 2008 - Hey Hi Barbara, I just read the information you gave about nut grass. I had wished for other options. Back to digging them out. Thanks for the information What about substituting cud zoo. S...
view the full question and answer

Trees to replace some non-native invasives in Deltona FL
February 02, 2012 - I would like to replace 3 large ChinaBerry & 3 large Chinese Tallow trees in my good sized back yard with some local wildlife friendly trees native to the Deltona area(first area.) What do you recomme...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center