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
3 ratings

Wednesday - November 18, 2009

From: Winston-Salem, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Control of invasive vine in North Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I live in Piedmont NC, have vines that twine around my shrubbery and are impossible to pull out of the ground w/o breaking because they are so thin/delicate. The leaves are maple-like (3 lobes), and in the summer berries appear and turn purple-black. In the fall the leaves turn yellow. When I pull the vines away from the shrubs, berries fly everywhere. The vines are multiplying each year. Help! Thanks so much.

ANSWER:

From only your description I can't identify your vine and whether it is native or introduced.  If you want us to identify it, please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page to read instructions for submitting photos.  With photos of your vine, we will do our very best to identify it. 

It hardly matters, however, what the vine is since it is being very invasive and, from your description, it doesn't sound as if it's going to be an easy job to get rid of it.  You obviously can't spray it with herbicide unless you want to lose your shrubs as well.  This means you are going to have to deal with it piece by piece.  The best thing you can do is to be vigilant and keep the vine from producing fruit by removing it before it flowers and sets the fruit.  This will keep you from spreading the seeds when you pull it out of the shrubs.  This will require pulling it out of the shrub early and, if possible, digging it up by the roots.  Simply pulling out the roots is probably not going to work since you say it breaks easily so you're going to have to dig.  If you have to remove vines with the fruit still on them, cut and gather the fruit BEFORE you pull out the vines.  Put the berries into a plastic bag, seal it and put the bag in your trash.  

An alternative to digging the roots of the vines out of the ground is to cut them at or near ground level and paint the surface of the cut with a 15-25% solution of glyphosate herbicide (available at most plant nurseries—one brand name is Roundup).  This allows you to target the vine without (if you are very careful) getting the herbicide on your shrubbery or other desirable plants.  This works best in summer and fall for deciduous plants and year round for evergreen ones. We urge you to read and follow safety/environmental instructions on all herbicide labels.

North Carolina Botanical Garden has an excellent booklet, Controlling Invasive Plants, with descriptions and photos of invasive non-native plants common in North Carolina and methods to control them.  This booklet is available on-line in PDF format.

Vigilance and persistence are the keys to getting rid of this pest.  Best of luck! 

 

More Vines Questions

Drought tolerant vine for Austin, Texas
May 17, 2014 - What kind of drought-tolerant vine can I plant outside my screened in porch in Austin, Texas, that will stay on a trellis and not grow into the screen?
view the full question and answer

Vine to cover pile of tree limbs
August 13, 2013 - I have a pile of tree limbs in my yard. I'd like to find a (flowering or not) vine type plant native to the Austin TX area that will eventually grow all over and cover this pile. Thanks for any sug...
view the full question and answer

Vines for fence, safe for horses in California
December 12, 2013 - I live in a fire prone part of Orange County, CA named Silverado and own horses. Am interested in fast growing vines to cover a fenced area which are horse safe. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Spots on leaves of sevenleaf creeper in Austin
November 14, 2009 - Have 3 seven leaf creepers that are planted in mostly shade. In Sept & Oct 2009 all 3 plants had dried up leaves which fell off; however, all three plants grew new leaves when we got rain and are com...
view the full question and answer

Full Sun, Wind-Tolerant Shrubs and Vines for Steep MN Hillside
June 26, 2013 - My neighbor and I share a very steep, large (in total almost 200 ft. wide) west-facing hillside in Excelsior, MN on Lake Minnetonka. We both have a flat grass area at the bottom so the hillside does n...
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