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Saturday - February 06, 2010

From: Temple, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Problem Plants
Title: Eliminating non-native invasive Asian jasmine in Temple TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, behind my backyard fence there is a large growth (about 300 to 400 sq feet) of Asian jasmine. It was planted by previous owners. It prevents growth of native plants like holly. What is the practical way of removing Asian Jasmine growth, so native plants can flourish?

ANSWER:

Trachelospermum asiaticum, Asian Jasmine, a native of Korea and Japan, is not in our Native Plant Database. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are focused on the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. However, we are always interested in controlling invasive plants, whether native or non-native. It is widely used by landscapers trying to cover a large area with a relatively low care groundcover, and if it is neglected and not mowed regularly, it becomes invasive and almost impossible to wipe out, as you already know.

You say the stand of Asian Jasmine you are hoping to control was planted by a previous owner behind you. The first line of defense would, of course, be to enlist the current owners of that property. Being cut back hard will eventually discourage it, but it is a survivor, and the cutting would probably need to be every few days. Then, you could start dealing with the plants that had migrated over to your side. This vine does not climb voluntarily, but a fence will not stop it. We have personal experience with Asiatic Jasmine coming under a very substantial fence with bricks beneath it, and virtually taking over a space. The main problem is that new roots will grow from a stem that touches the ground, and since it tends to grow low, there are always stems touching the ground. It is hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 10, and can certainly be killed by a protracted period of freezing temperatures. This weird winter aside, that is not likely to happen in Bell County, which is Zone 8a.

Since we don't know what kind of fence you have, we are going to assume that it is no particular barrier to the Asian Jasmine. If you can't get at the plants on the other property, you are just going to have to take a stand on your side. Cutting it back ruthlessly to the ground, eliminating leaves and stems, will discourage it because the plants needs the leaves to manufacture food for the entire plant. Also, it does not do well in full sun unless it is well-watered. If it is in the sun, don't water. Pulling it out, getting as much root as possible is pretty effective, but also pretty labor intensive. Last resort, and not necessarily one we recommend, is the herbicide route. If you purchase such a product, make sure it is for broad-leaf plants, and follow the directions closely. If you can avoid spraying, that would be better, because a slight breeze could come along, and POOF!, another, more valuable plant goes down. You could try painting the leaves with the herbicide on a disposable brush, again to discourage it. 

You will notice that we use the word "discourage" and not "eliminate." Whatever methods you choose, you will probably have to continue for a long time. This is another example of look before you leap. Before you purchase a plant (which of course, you didn't), investigate it, and don't believe what the salesperson says about easy care and/or non-invasive. If it has the potential to become invasive, try to find an alternative that is both native to the area and does not tend to invasiveness. 

 

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