VINES

CONTROL OPTIONS

Use pesticides wisely: always read the entire pesticide label carefully, follow all mixing and application instructions and wear all recommended personal protective gear and clothing. Contact your state department of agriculture for any additional pesticide use requirements, restrictions or recommendations. Notice: mention of a trade name does not constitute the endorsement of the product by authors, agencies or organizations involved in the production of this publication.

GENERAL GUIDANCE FOR VINES

Manual, mechanical and chemical control methods are all effective in removing and killing woody vines. Employing a combination of methods often yields the best results and may reduce potential impacts to native plants, animals and people. The method you select depends on the extent and type of infestation, the amount of native vegetation on the site, and the time, labor and other resources available to you. Whenever possible and especially for vines climbing up trees or buildings, a combination of cutting followed by application of concentrated systemic herbicide to rooted, living cut surfaces is likely to be the most effective approach. For large infestations spanning extensive areas of ground, a foliar herbicide may be the best choice rather than manual or mechanical means which could result in soil disturbance.

HERBACEOUS VINES. For most herbaceous vines, a systemic herbicide containing glyphosate (e.g., Accord®, Roundup®, Rodeo®) can be applied to the foliage at a rate of 1-3% mixed in water. If needed, the rate can be increased but not above the rate provided on the pesticide label.

WOODY VINES. For most woody vines, the most effective method of control is to cut the vine stem and apply a concentrated mix of systemic herbicide immediately to the cut surface. If foliar treatment is necessary, it is important to take measures to reduce off-site and non-target effects.

Chemical
Two of the more widely used systemic herbicides are glyphosate and triclopyr. Systemic herbicides are absorbed by plant tissues and carried to the roots causing the entire plant to die usually within about a week. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that may kill or harm any plants that come in contact with the spray. It carries a Caution signal word and requires long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes and socks during application. Glyphosate products referred to in this publication are sold under a variety of brand names (Accord®, Rodeo®, Roundup Pro® Concentrate) and in three concentrations (41.0, 50.2 and 53.8% active ingredient). Other glyphosate products sold at home improvement stores may be too dilute to obtain effective control.

Triclopyr is a selective herbicide that affects only broadleaf plants (e.g., forbs, shrubs and trees) and can be used in grasslands or areas where desirable grasses are growing under or around targeted woody or broad-leaved invasives. Use of triclopyr in areas where soils are permeable, particularly where the water table is shallow, can result in groundwater contamination. Triclopyr comes in two forms – triclopyr amine (e.g., Garlon® 3A, Brush-B-Gone®, Brush Killer®) and triclopyr ester (e.g., Garlon® 4, Pathfinder®, and Vinex®). The amine and ester forms are very different products with specific uses, hazards and precautions.

Triclopyr amine (e.g., Garlon® 3A) mixes with water and can be used near water without posing a threat to aquatic organisms. It can be used as a cut stem treatment at a 50% rate or a foliar treatment at 5% rate. It is not effective for basal bark treatments. However, the amine form of triclopyr carries a Danger signal word due to its corrosive properties which, in concentrated form, can cause irreversible eye damage. For this reason, it should only be used by trained and certified applicators who are familiar with this hazard and know the precautions that need to be taken when using it.

The ester form of triclopyr (e.g., Garlon® 4) carries a Warning signal word for the potential to cause skin and eye irritation but is not known to cause irreparable eye damage. Because it is toxic to aquatic invertebrates, it cannot be used near water or in wet soils. Garlon® 4 can be used for foliar, cut stem and basal bark applications. Due to the high potential for volatilization and offsite drift, triclopyr should not be used when the temperature is above 85°F. Drift can result in kill of non-target trees and other woody vegetation. It is imperative that protective eyewear and chemical resistant gloves be worn in addition to long-sleeve shirt, long pants, shoes and socks, during mixing and application. Always read the entire label before using any pesticide.

Basal bark. Use a string trimmer or hand saw to remove some of the vine foliage in a band a few feet wide and a few feet above the ground at comfortable height. To the exposed vine stems, apply a 20% solution of triclopyr ester (Garlon® 4) (2.5 quarts per 3-gallon mix) in commercially available basal oil with a penetrant (check with herbicide distributor). As much as possible, avoid application of herbicide to the bark of the host tree. This method can be employed essentially year-round when daily temperatures remain around 50°F for several days. Efficacy will vary seasonally.

Cut Stem Method. Use this method in areas where vines are established within or around non-target plants or where vines are growing on host trees. Cut vine stems close to the ground (about a foot above ground or at a convenient height) and immediately apply a 25% solution of glyphosate (e.g., Accord®) or triclopyr (e.g., Garlon® 4) mixed with water to the cut surface of the stem. Glyphosate and triclopyr applications are effective at temperatures as low as 45°F as long as the ground is not frozen. Subsequent foliar applications may be necessary to control new seedlings or sprouts. Homeowners can apply products like Brush-B-Gone®, Brush Killer® and Roundup Pro® concentrate undiluted to cut stems. Use a paint brush or a plastic spray bottle to apply the herbicide to cut surfaces.

Foliar. Use this method to control extensive patches of woody vines where cut stem and basal bark treatments are not possible. If desirable native plants occur within the infestation, manual, mechanical or cut stem treatments could be used to reduce the risk to non-target species prior to spraying. Foliar spray herbicide applications are often used to control large infestations. Apply to the leaves a 2% solution (8 oz per 3 gal. mix) triclopyr ester (Garlon® 4) in water with a non-ionic surfactant. Concentrations as low as 1% in mid-summer and 0.05% in September have also been very effective. Thoroughly wet the foliage but not to the point of runoff. If large amounts of desirable native vegetation are present or small amounts of rare native plants occur, it may be best to delay spray until the fall when much of the native vegetation has become dormant. A 0.5% concentration of a non-ionic surfactant is recommended in order to penetrate leaf cuticle. If the 2% rate is not effective increase the rate to 3% or up to 5%. Ambient air temperature should be above 65°F.

For dense, low patches, another alternative is to cut the entire patch to the ground early in the growing season using a mower, weed-whip, machete or other tool. About one month later, apply 1-2% solution of triclopyr ester (Garlon® 4) in water to the cut patch using a backpack sprayer. This method has achieved complete kill of the targeted vines with little off-target damage or root uptake by adjacent plants. The herbicide clopyralid (e.g. Transline®) may be a better choice when managing plants in the aster (Asteraceae), buckwheat (Polygonaceae), and pea (Fabaceae) families. This herbicide is effective at a concentration of 0.5%.

Manual and Mechanical
Always wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your skin from poison ivy and barbed or spined plants that often grow amongst the invasive vines. For small infestations, plants can be hand-pulled along with the root portions. If fruits are present, the vines should be bagged in plastic trash bags and disposed of in a landfill or, alternatively, piled up and allowed to desiccate onsite. Dried piles of pulled material can either be left on-site and monitored the next year for new growth or hauled away. For climbing vines, first cut the vines near the ground at a comfortable height to kill upper portions and relieve host tree. Vines can be cut using pruning snips or a pruning saw for smaller stems and a hand axe or chain saw for larger stems. Try to minimize damage to the host tree’s bark. Rooted portions will remain alive and should be pulled, repeatedly cut to the ground or treated with herbicide. Cutting without herbicide will require vigilance and repeated cutting because new plants will resprout from the stem base.

Grubbing. Grubbing is the removal of entire plants from the roots up and is appropriate for small initial populations or environmentally sensitive areas where herbicides cannot be used. Using a pulaski, weed wrench or similar digging tool, remove the entire plant, including all roots and runners. Juvenile plants can be hand pulled depending on soil conditions and root development. Any portions of the root system not removed may resprout.

BLACK SWALLOW-WORT

See General Guidance.

CHINESE WISTERIA

See General Guidance.

CHOCOLATE VINE

See General Guidance.

COMMON PERIWINKLE

See General Guidance.

ENGLISH IVY

See General Guidance.

For vines growing on trees, cut vine stems in two places about a foot apart and remove cut segment. Treat cut surface of rooted stems immediately with 5% glyphosate (e.g., Accord®) mixed with water. This will kill the rooted portions and prevent regrowth.

For infestations of vines on the ground, use a sturdy double-sided rake with short tines to gather vines and, while pulling taut on the vines, have a second person cut the vine stems near the ground. Ball the mass up and start again. The cut vines can be piled and left to desiccate on site. This process also allows removal of the rooted portions of vines and is quite effective but labor intensive. It requires at least two people taking turns. This method can be done at any time but may be more practical and effective in the dormant season when few other plants are around to interfere with the raking.

If treatment of foliage is needed, triclopyr and glyphosate can be used, with triclopyr typically giving greater control. Apply a 2-5% solution (8-20 oz. per 3 gal. mix) of triclopyr ester (e.g., Garlon® 4) mixed in water with a non-ionic surfactant to the leaves. Thoroughly wet the foliage but not to the point of run-off. Glyphosate can be applied as a 2-4% solution (8-16 oz. per 3 gal. mix) mixed in water with a 0.5 to 0.1% non-ionic surfactant. Repeat treatments may be needed.

JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE

See General Guidance.

JAPANESE HOP

See General Guidance.

The information on control of this plant is from research conducted by Dr. Philip Pannill and is available in more complete detail on the Plant Conservation Alliance ‘Weeds Gone Wild’ website (see References).

While several herbicides are effective against Japanese hop, glyphosate (Accord Concentrate® at 1 qt./ac.) provides very effective control. Ideally, the first application would be made after most seeds have germinated (mid-April to mid-May) and before hop vines are covering the trees (early June to late July, depending on tree size) or before seed formation starts (August). Treatments in August or later can lessen the damage from hop vines and reduce seed production. Applications timed closer to the initiation of seed formation are more likely to prevent seed production before frost.

Two treatments are recommended in order to protect trees from damage by the hop vines and to prevent or reduce seed production. The herbicide options can also be combined with efforts to pull vines or regularly mowing. According to The Nature Conservancy, hop seeds in the soil are unlikely to last more than three years. Repeat treatments for two to three years should be expected especially in areas subject to flooding that may receive influx of seed from upstream infestations.

The use of pre-emergent herbicides, which typically kill weed seeds as they germinate, is potentially valuable in controlling hop. Because this method requires specialized skills and knowledge about calibration and timing of application, it will not be discussed in detail here. For further information, refer to the Weeds Gone Wild fact sheet on Japanese hop (see References).

Cultural
Japanese hop prefers direct sunlight and does not tolerate heavy shade. As soon as the tree canopy closes, the hop will cease to be a problem. Practices that favor fast tree growth, early crown closure, and heavy shade will help the new stand survive and outgrow the hop. These include planting fast-growing tree species that are adapted to the site and that will create dense shade in spring and summer, spacing the plants close together, and using effective weed control measures. Hop will climb up and over shrubs and small trees, but it needs a ladder of tall weeds, shrubs, or low tree branches to cling to as it climbs. To minimize the availability of low-growing vegetation for hop to climb, it is important to reduce the proportion of shrubs and smaller trees in favor of tall-growing trees. As trees grow taller, prune the lower limbs and basal sprouts to reduce the ladder effect. Use of tree shelters can assist hop control by marking the location of the seedling, protecting it from herbicide spray, reducing low branching and making a less structured ladder. However, if the shelter surface is smooth, hop can still climb using the stake or adjacent vegetation. As much as possible, prevent hop vines from growing inside or overtop the shelters and depositing seed inside the shelter. Practices such as adequate site preparation, pre-emergent herbicide application or hand weeding inside the shelter, and herbicide application around the shelter can be used. If shelters are not used it is especially important to prevent and control hop from establishing or to detect and act on infestations early, before the vines can begin to climb onto the tree plantings.

Manual
Manual control is the most targeted method, with the least likelihood of damage to other plants. However, it is slow and labor-intensive and best suited for fairly small, readily accessible infested areas. Japanese hop does not develop an extensive or deep root system and as a result is fairly easy to pull or dig early in the season, especially when the soil is moist. This is an effective method but care must be taken to remove the root and not just break the stem off at ground level. Hand weeding needs to be started early in the growing season (April-May) while the roots are small and before the vines become tangled with other vegetation. Monthly pulling and monitoring will be needed until the infestation is eradicated. Due to the irritating prickles on the stems and leaves, it is important to wear gloves, long pants and long sleeves to avoid skin contact with the plant. Started early enough, and using proper precautions, this is a good method for homeowners or for volunteers working in public areas.

Mechanical
Cutting or mowing the hop vines as close to the ground as possible is an acceptable control method as long as the cutting is started early (late spring), the entire site is thoroughly cut, and the practice is repeated frequently until the plants die back in fall. There are problems with this method. Attempts to mow or drive a vehicle through tree planting sites with tangles of hop vines covering the trees can result in the vines pulling out trees and breaking tree shelters. Vines quickly re-grow from the cut stems and from uncut vines around the trees. If successful, mowing tends to retain and promote the development of perennial grasses.

JAPANESE WISTERIA

See General Guidance.

KUDZU

See General Guidance.

MILE-A-MINUTE

See General Guidance.

ORIENTAL BITTERSWEET

See General Guidance.

PALE SWALLOW-WORT

See General Guidance.

PORCELAINBERRY

See General Guidance.

SWEET AUTUMN VIRGINSBOWER

See General Guidance.

WINTER CREEPER

See General Guidance.

 

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Last updated:11-Nov-2010