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
2 ratings

Friday - July 22, 2011

From: Stamps, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Vines
Title: Eliminating a briar vine in American holly
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a wild vine (I was told it is a type of briar) living on my place. The root nest is like a potato. I have dug them up, I have sprayed them and I still am plagued with them. I have a beautiful American Holly. I have trimmed the limbs up high enough to walk under, but now the briars are taking over. I want to put more desirable plants under the tree. tell me what will kill them or a ground cover which will keep them from growing. Look forward to an answer, THANKS.

ANSWER:

There are 4 species of native greenbrier's that live in, or adjacent to, Lafayette County, Arkansas.   I'm not sure which one you have, but here they are in order of their "thorniness":

Smilax bona-nox (Saw greenbrier) has formidable thorns.

Smilax laurifolia (Laurel greenbriar) also has lots of thorns and here are photos and more information.

Smilax pumila (Sarsaparilla vine) has almost no thorns.

Smilax smallii (Lanceleaf greenbrier) has no thorns.

I suppose it doesn't really matter which one you have—you just want to get rid of it.   The keys to getting rid of the vine are vigilance and persistence.  First, watch for new shoots, cut them off and immediately (using a small paintbrush) paint the cut stem with an appropriate herbicide (check with a nursery for the best brand for this monocot vine).  You need to paint them immediately after cutting because the plant, to protect itself, will begin to close up those injured cells.  Painting works better than spraying because you aren't as likely to harm other plants and the liguid will go directly into the plant's transport system.  When you can, dig up those tuberous roots.  The plant can't live without those.

This is not the first question we have received about eliminating greenbriers.  Please click here to read the answer to a previous question.

 

 

More Vines Questions

What color should I paint a gazebo for vines in Arizona?
January 29, 2014 - I have a two questions. I have a dome shaped metal gazebo that I want a vine to grow up the 4 columns and cover the top. I live in Tempe, AZ which is hugely hot in summer. The gazebo is black right ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with gourd-like fruit
June 30, 2010 - We live on a farm, and I have noticed a vine that has leaves like grapes, but produces this flower, and a fruit that is rather large, shaped like a gourd, right now green in color. It is growing over ...
view the full question and answer

Question about male muscadine plants
June 01, 2012 - I have 9 muscadine plants, 3 females and 6 perfect flowered growing in my yard. A plant started growing under my porch lst year and it grew through the spaces between the boards. It grew nicely. It fl...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Vine for California
July 24, 2013 - What can I plant to cover a retaining wall in Redwood City, CA that will grow down on it (no dirt below) that deer will not eat? I have just about given up. I have tried jasmine and Gelsemium and regu...
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