Who's afraid of Virginia Creeper?

digit(ID/WA)May 30, 2007

I've always kind of admired this vine from afar and even deliberately started a creeper on the wire fence behind the neighbor's garbage cans. Thought that I'd prefer looking at the Virginia Creeper rather than the garbage cans. Not surprisingly, I was pulling the vines out of the lilac tree before we moved from that home.

Twelve years later, I've got the creeper in this yard. It's real pretty growing around a little sparrow house on my board fence. And, on the other side, it's on those neighbors' wire fence. They would object if I pulled it off probably, because they've just put in a swimming pool (almost wrote "swilling pool" ;o). I wish the vine would deaden their very public arguments fueled by alcohol but that can't happen.

Finally, it is climbing a tree in the backyard . . . so what should I do with this stuff? I like green . . . Is creeper too evil to tolerate even before it gets to the point of prying up shingles and crushing fences? So, WhoÂs Afraid of Virginia Creeper?


You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games.

Martha: I looked at you tonight and you weren't there . . . And I'm gonna howl it out, and I'm not gonna give a d__n what I do and I'm gonna make the biggest g_d__n explosion you've ever heard.

George: Try and I'll beat you at your own game.

Martha: Is that a threat George, huh?

George: It's a threat, Martha.

Martha: You're gonna get it, baby.

George: Be careful Martha. I'll rip you to pieces.

Martha: You're not man enough. You haven't the guts.

George: Total war.

Martha: Total.

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emagineer(z5 CO)

YUp..have the creeper too. When moving in last year I built the privacy fence in back a foot in from the wire fence on my property line. It was growing on the wire fence, now finding it's way over the wood privacy. I really don't have a problem with it back there, tis sort of in the woods and softens the wood pile. But now that you have mentioned the "monster", it definitely can get out of control and may destroy the new fence. Wire is fine, wood can't a handle it "George".

Currently my neighbor to the right does quite well in pulling every start up that shows up, so it is managed well on that side. Although I did notice when watering the raspberries today that a few were popping up way around on my side by the berries.

How deep and forever do they go? Even if you pulled it off the fence, I don't think it would go away. You would only be holding "Martha" at bay "George".

And I also don't think weed killer would do anything of value. I've determined that my yard was taken care of in the past by using weed killer all around the perimeter and mowing the lawn. Last year there were just a few spots of green, this year I have all kinds of plants filling in. Day Lillies, which are surprising me, among other interesting vines and flowers. And now the Virginia Creeper. Deep rooted plants obviously.

You need to find out where "Martha" really is and suspect she may be settled in a few more places than expected. Jeesh, I'd hate to really get your hackles up.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:43PM
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cnetter(z5 Co)

I'm afraid of Vrginia Creeper. I have it, even though I never planted it. The birds brought it over from the neighbors across the street. At first I thought it was pretty, with its great fall colour. But it's thoroughly gotten into places it shouldn't have, and it's very hard to remove.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:48PM
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Nope, I'm not going to war with the creeper - just mimicking the neighbors on the other side of the vines (or Burton and Taylor, or someone ;o). You'd be embarrassed to know either one of them by the language that comes across that fence. Not everyone in the neighborhood has my advantage - turning off the hearing aids.

I can keep the creeper from spreading any farther (even if the vitriol won't kill it). On the other side of my yard, I can kill it with Round-up. The neighbor over there won't let anything grow within 40 feet of the house except a tiny, tiny postage stamp of a lawn - fortunately, they got rid of the dalmatian.

So, between us - we could kill that vine. I can also kill it on the tree but it is still a fairly scrawny thing there. And, the tree trunk isn't very attractive. Right now, I'd say that the vine is "lovely" and I know that it's a pretty red in the Fall.


Here is a link that might be useful: Liz, Dick, George, & (a different) Sandy

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 10:51PM
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abq_bob(USDA 5a/SS 2A)

I'm afraid of the creeper. It creeps me out when it gets 30ft or more up into trees and starts popping up everywhere in the yard. Round-Up to the rescue, for me anyways :-P

My neighbors have it growing on their side of the cinderblock wall, and I try to keep up with the escapees.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 12:30AM
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emagineer(z5 CO)

Well, look at that, "Sandra Dee", who was the same age as me and I am Sandra D. with once black hair. And, did I get up too early? What did you post that pic for?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:21AM
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The actors in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Sandy. I'm having a deja vu experience, here.

I never read Virgina Woolf but stories about her are particularly scary. The movie with this title was really disturbing. I remember thinking that I'd never have a marriage like that - - or, wouldn't I?? Cripes!

And, it wasn't just about marriage relationships, it was also about their jobs . . . the home, the roads . . . everything! Creeps me out . . . I'm not leaving the house today!


    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 9:22AM
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gardengal_co(z5 CO)

I have a virginia creeper along the fence that seperates me from the neighbors garbage can storage area... it's not a problem for me. What's a problem is trumpet vine.. I have shoots coming up all over the corner of the yard where it's planted. GRRRR!!

(And I have ignorant swimming pool neighbors too.... sound just like yours digitS.. sit around on Sunday afternoons drinking, blasting George Thoroughgood, and talking stupid, while the kids argue and boss each other in the pool!!!)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 1:37PM
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When I was in drama class in high school, I actually played the part of George to a classmate's Martha. (It was her skit, so she got to play the girl.) It was the only skit I ever got an A on. Hmmm.

I have Virginia Creeper, and I think I might put it to use. I think I'll shove it over the fence onto my neighbors' property. Heh heh heh.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 1:13AM
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Just thought I'd give you all an update on the wacky neighbors on the other side of the Virginia Creeper - the police came last night and hauled off the guy in handcuffs . . . Yet another example of marriage counseling by law enforcement subscribed to by so many couples in this neighborhood.

I came home yesterday to find the neighbors arguing on the front porch. DW asked me what they were arguing about and I said it must be who gets to go into their new pool first. Later in the very hot afternoon, another couple appeared in the backyard and went in for a dip. I never saw the neighbors join them.

I have a feeling that the neighbors were having some kind of "contest of will" in the 90 degree heat to see who would crack and throw themselves across the yard and into the cool water. This must have been just too much of a trial because the police arrived shortly after sundown. (Or, it might be claimed that they were both winners! ;o)AllÂs quiet on the other side of the Creeper today . . .

Oh, and the advisability of the Virginia Creeper on a fence . . . did a little searching and I came up with this interesting thread right here on GardenWeb.

(just back from my version of running thru the lawn sprinkler :o)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 6:17PM
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emagineer(z5 CO)

Well, I actually like the pic of the covered building. But am assuming it is brick or stone...or it is a gonner.

Digit, are you sure those people would even have a clue if you were to remove the creeper? Actually, it is probably better there with the stuff going on. I guess we all have oddities in neighborhoods, but for some reason thought you were out in the country away from this. Yes, I know you shared having the pool next door.

After looking at the linked thread I did an image search and a bunch of photos came up comparing poison ivy to virginia. How most people get them mixed up. Not me, have had too many run ins with the first. But then an image of a mixture on the pool fence wandered into my head. Sure would keep those people quiet for a while. Okay, that isn't nice...but a bit of humor thinking about it.

Here is a link that might be useful: If you want to plant?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 6:23AM
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Oh, I love "emagining" that, too! Poison ivy in the creeper! Ha, ha, ha, he, he, aak, snort!

That may have taken out a (not so)innocent bystander Sunday. The male guest, who actually made it into the swilling pool (with his beer), fell asleep over here next to the fence. T's okay, tho': "Come on over to enjoy a swim, drink a ton of beer, and be sure to pick up a severe sunburn and a terrible rash before you head back home!" HA, HA!


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 1:58PM
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When we bought the house 6 years ago, there were 4 small VC starts on the tall chain link fence between my back lot line and the irrigation ditch. I think the intention was to completely cover the fence, which was nearly complete by the 2nd summer.

I liked the look, but at that point however, I decided I actually liked seeing the ditch (my freebie "water feature"), I just don't like seeing the fence. So I started trimming it so that it would cover only about the top foot or so of the fence. That worked pretty well as long as I went out and trimmed it to where I wanted it once a month or so. I also liked the more controled appearance I now had, but then I got to thinking, since I'm doing this work trimming vines, and they're sucking up my water (expensive in Fort Collins) I would rather do the same thing with grape vines, which are more romantic and also provide fruit.

I bought 6 grape vines (3 varieties of seedless table grapes from Gurney's) and planted them alternating between the VC, next to the pole posts (to help disguise the poles), rather than between them as the VC had been. Gradually as the grape vines have become larger, I've trimmed back the VC to make room for them. I'm glad I decided to transition this way rather than whacking the VC immediately, because the grapes have taken a long time to become established. The transition has been fairly easy to manage, and it hasn't been that difficult to get rid of the VC. Two of the original 4 are now completely gone, though I did still get some sprouts from one of them this spring.

The two grapes that were the pink kind, (I think reliance) did really well, and this will be the 3rd summer they've had grapes, but the first year I can see there will be a bumper crop, each covering about 25 foot of fence. The seedless concord was cane hardy for the first time last summer, and I can see it will have a few bundles of grapes this summer, but it's still relatively small, and only about 6 foot wide at the top of the fence. The ones that are supposed to be some kind of green seedless were cane hardy for the first time this summer, so it's been a long wait. I may give up on them and plant something else if they're not doing better by next summer. In retrospect, I wished I'd bought reliable varieties from our local nursery (Promised to be grown locally and hardy) rather than the inexpensive starts I got from Gurney's. We'll see.
Anyway, I thought the Creeper was reasonably easy to handle, and reasonably easy to transition to my grapes, and it definitely has a heck of a lot more appeal than a big chain link fence.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 3:58PM
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Heeeey, I like this idea, Bruce. Not really better than Sandy's but . . . you know, less vindictive.

I'll be able to talk the neighbors into anything - wait late enuf in the day and . . . well, I'd better ask at the right moment for them to actually remember agreeing. Could be a "bone of contention" at a later time . . . oh God, it is difficult to deal with people who drink too much.

Certainly, worth it for the both of us to entertain the idea and maybe I could run it by them a couple of times just for the sake of diplomacy. Give them time to realize that they agreed to something.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 5:10PM
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emagineer(z5 CO)

Hmmm, didn't mean to be vindictive. There was a bit of humor tagged on. I would think that the grape idea would work well if you added the idea of wine making somewhere in the mix. Surely they wouldn't forget that part.

Now, if it would just quit raining everytime I decide to do something outside. Then I'd stay off of this and not keep thinking up stuff without reason. Rain is good, but think I'll try and ask for it at night.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 5:52PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Send your rain up this way, Emagin! Every single day I stand outside watching the clouds moving in and hope----and then I stand there and watch them move back away on the other side. I'm in a little dry pocket up here, and it's VERY frustrating!

Regarding Virginia Creeper-----I'm afraid of Virginia Creeper, The Big Bad Wolf, and a Nuclear Bomb---in that order!

;-) Skybird

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 7:46PM
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emagineer(z5 CO)


Tis good to hear from you. How are you doing? And is the sky going to have you in it's arms soon? Or do we get to keep you around for a while? Every one of the plants from the swap are doing great. I'm really amazed as there were so many not my norm. It will be fun to take pics and share the adopted buddies so all will know they have a good home.

Not sure if it is the new location I'm living in, but the the last two springs have been very rainy here. And can't remember Colorodo rains like this for years. I do love it though as everything grows so well without much attention from me. My xeric landscape planted last year is huge in front. Weeds too, but so far have kept up with them. Now that I have written this, the wonderful rains will probably turn to dust....90 something the next few days.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 7:44AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Glad to hear your swap adoptees are doing so well, Emagin. You picked up a whole bunch of stuff there in the end, so I donÂt have a clue what all you got, but it will be fun to see pictures as things mature and bloom. I still donÂt have everything I got in the ground, but the stuff in the ground is doing great and the other stuff has been put temporarily in bigger pots.

DonÂt know when IÂll be back to work! I had the medical exam for the workers comp company in Chicago last Thursday, and just heard from my attorney that the WC company is denying treatment of my shoulder. IÂm not in such a great mood today! It looks like my personal insurance is now going to have to cover it, and we begin a battle with the WC company. If we fight the WC company first, it could be months before IÂm able to get treatment for my shoulder. But, besides the pain, the real problem is that IÂm now without any income at all until I return to work. And another thing IÂve been worried about is that my badges expire on my birthday the middle of July. That makes me persona non grata for all things airport! If it comes to that I think IÂm gonna just go out to the airport to try to renew my DIA badge and see what happens. If they donÂt arrest me, IÂll still be able to park out there and go up to the domicile at least! ;-) Just not a good day today! IÂll be better again tomorrow!

DonÂt know when, but I AM going to come down there some day to see your place,

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 2:31PM
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emagineer(z5 CO)

Sky...is there some way you can write to me personally? I know you can't get PMs. Maybe through Cheryl we could exchange email info? It would be such great fun to have lunch some day, even meet half way.

I am so sorry about all going on. My PT is stopping too, they have ran out of what ever limit is given. I loved it and worked so well, so I really do understand what you are going through. Pain is not what I want and it irks me knowing that there is a solution but they won't let us have it. But they will pay for the pain pills that make us stupid and I hate and won't take.

The badge deal is an issue, son went through this when they decided to change their requirements. Even though he had worked for 3 years with clearance, he needed to take his BC in or couldn't get past the gate. So, sort of understand this one too and know you need to do it before it gets too deep for renewal.

And if they do arrest you I suspect it would be the last time they tried....you would put up such a fit, they wouldn't want to go through it again. Humor...

The income thing is worrisome, do hang in there. This has to be a rotten day for you with all. Will think of you and hope for good stuff.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 8:32PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado


Email me at SkybirdDEN@gmail.com, and IÂll send you my primary email address. If I get a tour of your yard, IÂll drive all the way down there! I spent a few hours out in the yard today. It helped some. AndÂIÂve been involved in getting a passenger arrested, so I know how to deal with the police at DIA! ;-)

Big mean Skybird (well, maybe not big!)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 11:39PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)


I used to transcribe for an IME group in Maryland and it was rare that the independent doctor would say treatment was medically necessary after the first visit. But then again, there were so many people faking injuries it almost made me feel sorry for the insurance company. Has your attorney checked the examining doctor out with the Illinois Medical Board? Hope things get better soon.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 12:15AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Thanks, Dafy. The doctor is legit. He's with a large orthopedics group associated with Rush Hospital in Chicago. I think we'll ultimately win, but it just wasn't the news I was wanting to hear right now. This was my 3rd IME, and the first one I've had a problem with. I know what you mean about people faking injuries! I work with some of them! One of them was a classmate of mine, and (gossip, gossip) I heard he was sleeping with his doctor to get the reports he needed! Strange world we live in! Hopefully in about a month I'll have had the cortisone shot and the PT I need and finally be able to go back to work.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 1:30AM
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emagineer(z5 CO)

Sent you an email. Check to see, could go to spam box, tis from yahoo.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 8:41AM
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we are not afraid, lol. it started in the neighbors yrd and does spread into our blue spruce and around on the ground. we started trimming the spruce a couple of yrs ago then the creeper started climbing up it. easy fix really, the last 2 yrs i have just used a garden rake to pull it down. since it comes out all attached to each other it is only a 5 minute job but needs to be done yearly. we love it, it creates a great privacy fence. i read a tip somewhere about creeper and ivy too if you are worried about it on your house. if you girdle or sever the stems at the base and let it die off, it shouldnt do damage to your shingles or siding when you finally pull it off.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 1:06PM
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catladysgarden(z5 CO)

I don't understand why anyone would plant Virginia Creeper on purpose. Our neighbors have one. I pulled them out of my flower beds by the thousands last year. As far as I'm concerned, that stuff belongs on the noxious weeed list.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 2:22PM
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Thank you, posters! I was looking for a perennial woody vine that would both attract arguing, pool splashing neighbors as well as warts. Now, thanks to your insight, I found what I was looking for in the lofty Virginia creeper! All Gods glory!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:54PM
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    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 12:03PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

ROFL! I love this board! hahahaha

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 11:37PM
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b2alicia(zone 5 Westminster)

Me, me, me!

This is how overgrown my back fence was when I first moved into my house. Photo was taken in June 2007. There was no way I could rip it out by myself... luckily I knew a young fella who was willing to do it for me.

Notice in the last two pictures that the V. creeper had broken the fence! Since then, I've found little bits of it showing up, but nothing like that huge project in 2007.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 12:49AM
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Death to them!!!! Horrible, painful death!!!! I have eradicated them from my yard after 3 years of intense battle. Yes, they are pretty in the fall with their red foliage. But I can find lots of other fall-beautiful plants that don't envision world domination. I first tried to just rip the vines off and cut it off at the ground. I had never seen this plant before, and thought it could be killed by conventional means. Oh no. I then tried to dig up the root. But there were more than one; they were everywhere. It laughed at Round-Up. I finally had to cut it down, poison the root with Tordon. I don't use chemicals unless I can help it, but it was relentless!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 10:53PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I was at Paulino's a month ago and they were actually selling the stuff for $16.00 for a gallon size pot. I started plotting how I could become a millionaire selling the stuff.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 11:17PM
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And to think I was just about to plant one...silly, misguided me!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:35PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


It's the perfect thing to plant next to a neighbor you'd like to forget you have.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 2:18AM
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