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It's gotten personal!

Posted by LuvMyRazz none (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 2, 13 at 16:50

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?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: It's gotten personal!

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:

RE: It's gotten personal!

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.

RE: It's gotten personal!

  • Posted by nelson 8 in Alabama (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 2, 13 at 21:30

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!

RE: It's gotten personal!

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.

RE: It's gotten personal!

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 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.

RE: It's gotten personal!

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!!!

RE: It's gotten personal! Thanks!

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!!!

RE: It's gotten personal!

  • Posted by jcalhoun 8b Mobile County AL (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 11, 13 at 11:32

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

RE: It's gotten personal!

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.

RE: It's gotten personal!

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:

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

7.0 - Pure Water

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? Wouldn't want to pour stuff on the ground that might affect tree/shrub roots. Or, in the case of the pic, hack/stab into it with a shovel or pitchfork & apply to the wounds. Might take a few tries, but often so does a product with "kills weeds" on the label. Might not be that easy, but if one's chopping off stems anyway, sure would be easy to try.

LuvMyRazz, it also makes me wonder, since you said it's in the "yard," we see a stump and grass... obviously not the moist woodland it supposedly inhabits. It might be possible or even desirable to apply lime to your lawn. Until my enlightenment, I was trying to "grow a good lawn" in OH, and if memory serves, most grasses grow best at a PH of around 7-8. Not advice, just bringing it up for discussion/investigation, unless you feel the same way about lawn as I do. (If the lawn grows it, we mow it, end of story.) And, like I said, that was in OH, the grass down here is very different.

I didn't notice this before, "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!" You probably already know this, but if you left bits in the ground, man, I don't have the stomach to finish the sentence...

RE: It's gotten personal!

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!).

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