It's gotten personal!

LuvMyRazz(8)September 2, 2013

This root (and hundreds more) have a network a few inches below my lawn. Runners are anywhere from size of your pinky to as big as your arm! Thorny vine above ground attaches itself to trees,fences etc. Vine becomes woody with age. More invasive than kudzu! Round- up will kill young vine but not roots. Any suggestions as to what it is and how to kill it?

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alabamanicole(7b)

Smilax species, aka sarsaparilla aka green brier aka many other names. It's a perennial with a large root storage organ. Not invasive -- it's native -- but it does pop up everywhere.

I suggest you dig up the big roots and make root beer, but there are other options:
http://www.eattheweeds.com/smilax-a-brier-and-that%E2%80%99s-no-bull/

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 5:50PM
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LuvMyRazz(8)

Thanks for reply. Someone told me it is saw briar. I will have to excavate my whole yard!! Here's a pic of it under the surface.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 7:37PM
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ourhighlandhome

You'll battle Hell trying to eradicate this SOB.

Take a look at the root system of just one vine I dug up this spring along side my glove (and I can assure you I didn't remove all of it). And they return from the tiniest, most distraught piece of bulb left behind.

There is nothing I have tried that will kill this beast. Perhaps removing as much as the bulb and resulting "network" as possible, then dousing the remains with an herbicide will do it. I'm gonna try that this Fall.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 9:30PM
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alabamanicole(7b)

Yep, saw briar is another name. Also bull briar, cat briar and similar. The only one that seems to consistently stick to a particular species is jackson vine, which has no thorns and people actually buy it from nurseries and plant it.

Herbicides like Roundup don't tend to work on things with extensive root storage. Even violets spring back from Roundup.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 7:56AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

With something so hard to coat with RU (which only works on the leaves,) it could be easier to gather vine tips and stick them in a soda can of RU, so it can drink a LOT of it. Dig a little hole so the can doesn't fall over. Repeat on various sections as necessary. This at least keeps the chemicals off of the ground, and only uses what the plant can drink. I've not sampled any, but eattheweeds.com says parts of this are edible.

Congrats on getting a couple potatoes out! My Mom has this stuff around her yard and it's all coming from shrubs, adjacent to the base, where digging is not possible without uprooting the whole shrub(s.) Periodic beheading does nothing... I hate not noticing it's there while trimming the shrubs and getting scratched.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:07AM
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LuvMyRazz(8)

Thanks for all replies! I may try this purpleinopp, sounds feasible. I'll try anything! I just planted 21 plants and every single hole , I had to axe or use loppers to clear it of this stuff before I could plant! Sooo frustrating!!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 7:53PM
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LuvMyRazz(8)

Thanks for all replies! I may try this purpleinopp, sounds feasible. I'll try anything! I just planted 21 plants and every single hole , I had to axe or use loppers to clear it of this stuff before I could plant! Sooo frustrating!!!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 7:54PM
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jcalhoun(8b Mobile County AL)

That hard glossy coating on the leaves is called a cuticle. Some herbicides for woody plants will work with use of a surfactant.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 11:32AM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

I used to hate it, then I read a bird, forget which kind, needs it to survive, so I let it be in out of the way places. Once had to use a chain saw in the ground to pulverize a huge root...ruined the chain, but the plant never returned.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Topsie, your comment made me curious. According to Wiki, "The berry is rubbery in texture and has a large, spherical seed in the center. The fruit stays intact through winter, when birds and other animals eat them to survive. The seeds are passed unharmed in the animal's droppings. Since many Smilax colonies are single clones that have spread by rhizomes, both sexes may not be present at a site, in which case no fruit is formed."

Besides being allowed to form a thicket, which can be a safe haven from larger predators for birds or other small critters, sparse, individual vines struggling through shrubs or up a tree that aren't making berries, I couldn't find any other beneficial relationship of this vine to birds.

Some butterflies do use it as a host plant though. (also Wiki.)
"Among the Lepidoptera utilizing Smilax are Hesperiidae like the Water Snow Flat (Tagiades litigiosa), Pieridae like the Small Grass Yellow (Eurema smilax)[verification needed], or moths like the peculiar and sometimes flightless genus Thyrocopa. But particularly fond of greenbriers are certain Nymphalidae caterpillars, for example those of:
Faunis �" duffer butterflies
Kaniska canace �" Blue Admiral (on China Smilax, Smilax china)
Phalanta phalantha �" Common Leopard (on S. tetragona)"

I still don't want in my yard as it doesn't seem necessary to support these butterflies, Smilax is everywhere unlike some other host plants, but I like to know these things about native plants. Those who can't win a fight against it should be comforted to know also.

But, for those fighting, there is this, " It grows best in moist woodlands with a soil pH between 5 and 6." That's a pretty low PH, so wouldn't sudden, really high PH kill it?

Lists of acid content are fairly standard:

Acids
0- Hydrochloric Acid (HCl)
1.0 - Battery Acid (H2SO4 sulfuric acid)
2.0 - Lemon Juice
2.2 - Vinegar
3.0 - Apples
4.0 - Wine and Beer
4.5 - Tomatoes
6.6 - Milk

Neutral
7.0 - Pure Water

Bases
7.4 - Human Blood
8.3 - Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)
10.5 - Milk of Magnesia
11.0 - Ammonia
12.4 - Lime (Calcium Hydroxide)
13.0 - Lye
14.0 - Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)

Another version:
pH Value / H+ Concentration Relative to Pure Water / Example
0 10 000 000 battery acid
1 1 000 000 concentrated sulfuric acid
2 100 000 lemon juice, vinegar
3 10 000 orange juice, soda
4 1 000 tomato juice, acid rain
5 100 black coffee, bananas
6 10 urine, milk
7 1 pure water
8 0.1 sea water, eggs
9 0.01 baking soda
10 0.001 Great Salt Lake, milk of magnesia
11 0.000 1 ammonia solution
12 0.000 01 soapy water
13 0.000 001 bleach, oven cleaner
14 0.000 000 1 liquid drain cleaner

So it looks like ammonia or bleach would be highly offensive to Smilax vine (without going to other chemicals like weed killers.) Maybe with an eye-dropper on a stump, right after chopping it near the ground? ...

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:18AM
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daybydaybyday

My mother named this Devil Vine. We pulled up all of our azaleas and holly bushes because we can't keep this stuff out of them. We have bushes and shrubs with one trunk (sorry, I'm plant-name-illiterate, but do know boxwood!) so we can keep an eye on the base of the plant to cut this vine out of them.

Mom has always wondered the proper name for it is -- I'll let her know it's bull briar (most fitting of it's aka's!).

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 2:41AM
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