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
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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Adding Wildflowers to Corpus Christi
May 20, 2012 - I have a dry sandy yard, full sun in Corpus Christi with lot's of stickers mostly, want to transform to wildflowers. When should I plant, how should I prepare soil, should I dig out stickers? Which w...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of tree in North Carolina
September 07, 2011 - I live in North Carolina have found a tree on our property that has thorny branches and round fruit (perfectly round) with a fuzzy outer layer that starts out green but then turns yellow. The inside r...
view the full question and answer

Wild mustard growing in disturbed ground in Montana
August 01, 2008 - I have recently planted "plugs" of wildflowers in beds throughout my yard. Because the soil was disturbed, I now not only have some beautiful wildflowers growing, but also mustard plants growing in ...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Removal of thistles from Columbus TX
May 20, 2014 - I am sorry if you have an answer in FAQs but I could not find it. We recently cleared property near Columbus Texas of many cedars (ash junipers). This spring we experienced a profusion of thistle -...
view the full question and answer

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