unidentified vine

sarahvignolaMay 10, 2005

I am so glad to have found this forum! I live in NC and after buying a house last year, I spent most of last season gardening in the front yard since my back yard is mostly trees. I decided I wanted to start a woodland garden and started cleaning up the back this past weekend. I was amazed to find that almost all of the trees were wrapped up in a green, thorny vine. Once I started snipping and pulling the vines I realized that they went all the way up most of the trees and that is why some of the smaller ones were bent. While I have learned a lot about flowers and shrubs in short time gardening, I have no idea what this vine is or what I should do. I assume I need to continue cutting and unravelling the trees as best I can. Any suggestions?

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It is probably smilax which grows from a knotty corm in the ground. I had it and I cut mine to the ground and pulled it all out (the thorns actually hurt more when the vine is dead). It will likely resprout again, but you can deal with it easier.

There are several different varieties, some with large thorns and thick stems, others with thin stems and very tiny thorns. There is even one thornless variety that people buy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Smilax

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 2:38PM
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bushpoet(z6 Bronx NY)

Could also be wild cucumber vine - it slashed my forearms terribly last time I weeded it out of the garden.

Good luck.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 5:23PM
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CandyP(SE US)

I too have an unidentified vine. Just built a new home on a heavily wooded lot which we want to remain natural. Had a small area cleared and it is being over run by a vine with a leaf that has an elongated center and variagated in color, some green and white, some rust and white, and sharp thorns. It is all over the woods and makes walking there difficult. It is hard to pull up. Any idea what is is and how to keep it our of our cleared area??? Any and all advice will be welcomed! Thank you

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 2:39PM
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Have you looked up "smilax"? It is very common in the southeast and is quite thorny.

Cut it off at the ground, pull it out of the trees and discard it. Wear suede or rose gloves when doing this. You can dab the cut tip with a brush killer (Brush be Gone) or you can try to dig it out of the ground (difficult). My approach was to cut and then cut any new sprouts the next spring until hopefully the plant runs out of energy.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 7:09AM
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serenoa(z8b, FL)

I am having the same experience as "esh ga" with smilax (or briars) in my yard. I have three different species. I largely ignore the spineless type and only kill the spiny ones in the main garden area. In the woods, deer browse the new growth, birds eat the fruit and the tangles of stems must afford some shelter for birds and other critters. Digging out the heavy tubers is the best way to get rid of a plant. I leave the tubers in the sun for a week to kill them before putting them on the compost pile. Unfortunately, they often grow in a place where digging isn't possible. Brush B Gone works well. Cutting the shoots back regularly kills them, too. Where I have been diligent, small plants died in a year or two. The largest plants and those that I don't watch as closely are still resprouting after two years but are much weaker.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 8:25AM
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Dipladenia, Mandevilla sanderi, this one has thorns on the stem., plant that vines

Look up this plant and see if this is it.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 8:56AM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

Same b!tchy vine here as esh ga & seronoa
Chopping clipping digging out evil dreaded privet
if it shades my gardens or orchard
I find these thorns readily when I forget gloves
attempting an organic approach I clip/dig them out
they come back lanky if not well established
then so thin one may miss them after the 2nd removal
they're not the badass skin ripping vine after that!
which I found surprising

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 11:14AM
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