Warning: Wild grape vine will smother trees

breenthumbMay 15, 2006

I've kept up a constant battle with wild grape vines growing under evergreen trees at the edge of my yard for years. It can be done but I must remain vigilant. My neighbor just let them grow and they completely suffocated one large evergreen and spred to others.

Their tendrils wrap tightly around anything it can reach and the vine grows so quickly and dense that in a matter of just a couple years it can envelop trees suffocating them from light and killing them. Left to get out of hand, it will spread from tree to tree or along phone wires at heights impossible to reach, so the only point of attack is from the ground.

The roots and stems can get as big as huge tree roots and, if you're lucky enough to cut them in time to save your trees, the roots will resprout but it is possible, with diligence, to control them. Hopefully even destroy them completely.

A new neighbor moved in and thankfully removed them just in time to save several other trees, mine included. I'm writing this to save others the agony of having to remove them after the damage has been done, leaving a gaping hole in what was once (and hopefully will be again)a beautiful treeline. So much nicer to look at trees than old decks in the lots backing up to us. Sandy

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by chance did you get rid of the vines? I am about to engage in a battle myself. I liked the coverage at first. now i have vines popping up on all of my fence lines.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 9:49AM
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Wild grape is one of the most pervasive weeds. The back of a lot I purchased looked like the Amazon and the roots go on forever and are tough to remove. I used Roundup on one section and seedlings would crop up elsewhere, but fortunately I had a bulldozer work the site and the majority were defeated. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating Perennials

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 12:03PM
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I'm still fighting them. Problem is trying to convince neighbors to do the same...and CONTINUE the fight. As I said, once they get onto phone lines or higher nearby branches, we're toast. And if they're near a fence we have to ask permission to go into the yard. And the nuts on one side actually like them so I have to sneak out and do their back trees without riling them.

I've heard Roundup Brush Remover does a fairly good job with repeat applications, and read about a product called Vinex. Vinex sounds like something you brush on the roots to kill them. Check it out at Vinex.com, I think. They have a zip code link that will tell you where it's available in your area--not a lot of places carry it and its pricey but not as expensive as removal, replanting of dead trees not to mention the years it takes to get them back to a decent size.

Best of luck. Sandy

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 1:32PM
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Forgot to mention their next line of defense. Once they've been in place for a while something thorny starts to grow right in with them--not sure if its from the same roots or completely different that thrives where they are present. Miserable stuff requiring tough working gloves and clothing it can't snag.

And the berries are spread easily by the birds, so they begin to pop up in new areas. Glad you're doing something about them.

As we travel along highways and T-Way in NYS they are prolific among all the trees. Not to sound overly dramatic but I really shudder to think about what's happening. Sandy

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 2:06PM
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Don't believe that shade will stop them! They love sprouting under my gold dust mop (giant) bushes, where they know I have trouble getting to them, under the hollies and under mature pines. I can't say in polite company what I think of these things! I have rescued several mid-size trees over that past 5 years and have to keep at it.

Roundup will kill them, but keep at it. And try to cut right to the ground in the middle of winter. Also, be SURE to look for the seedlings and either spray them or pull them up by hand. This year is particularly bad in PA.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 2:47PM
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On our ranch in Central Texas, the grape vines have been successful in killing some of our 100 year old Oak trees. During the last drought, I cut a grapevine and was squirted with water. This vine was competing for water with the tree that it had covered. At the base, the vine was over 8inches in diameter. It grew into and then covered the crown. The tree could not recover because of the drought. According to those in the know, Texas has more wild grape varieties than anywhere in the world. Everything is bigger in TEXAS.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 4:55PM
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