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vines taking over

Posted by lipwak 6/NY (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 20, 06 at 18:34


I posted this same question to the local Cornell Co-op forum last year and no one ever answered it. As I drive around in the summer I see (grape, wisteria, etc) vines overwhelming all kinds of things, trees, bushes, etc alongside the roads and highways. However, I was pleased to see that many of the trees and bushes I saw covered with vines last year have leaves and appear healthy enough, at least for now. They are getting overwhelmed again this year but they have survived being totally covered last summer.

My question then is, do these vines kill the trees and bushes they overwhelm? I do see dead trees and bushes where vines have run rampant but I also see many that seem to survived last year's onslaughts.

How much damage do they really do?

Is there any way they can eradicated or at least controlled? I am assuming there just isn't the money or political will to have local and state governments deal with them. Short of that, I know of some volunteers that try to make an impact but they are few and far between.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


Rockland County, NY

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: vines taking over

What can happen is that if young trees get engulfed with vines, they may not be able to leaf-out as well and the leaves that do come out may become shaded by the leaves of the vine. This may result in stunting. Eventually, with not enough canopy, the tree will decline and eventually die. More mature trees with canopies well above the vines, seem to fair better but may eventually suffer if the vines reach up that high.

You are correct about volunteers getting out there and clearing trees of invasive vines. That happens here in my city within the Fairmount Park system, but it is a long and arduous process - particularly when care is taken to attempt to eradicate the point sources of the vine so it doesn't resprout and begin again. I recall some honeysuckle engulfing shrubs in one of the creek tributary portions of the park system. The honeysuckle itself was later engulfed with sweet autumn clematis by late summer/early fall, believe it or not. The poor shrubs (I think some may be viburnums) just couldn't compete with 2 invasive vines covering them. Fortunately someone got in there and cleared the shrubs.

RE: vines taking over

Thanks for the detailed answer. I still am amazed that some of these trees, that get totally overwhelmed by vines last year, manage to survive with leaves of their own this year. Eventually I think the vines will win. (Remembers something about precession...) but maybe not. Maybe their's hope.

I am seeing trees die in my back yard because of neglect, in other people's property that I can't do anything about, so it's frustrating. And all along the highways. Will they become wastelands of dead trees? We'll see.

Can I hope for a plague of something that only attacks vines?



RE: vines taking over

I've seen it too, everywhere I go. Locally and all along the state highways. In fact I posted about just this very thing on this forum "Warning: Wild grape vines will smother trees" last spring. Got no responses.

Dealing with the same problem as you with neighbors and don't know what else I can do. They just don't care! As I said in my post, one did remove them but now they've sprouted up again and he's just letting them grow! It doesn't take long for them to kill trees. I've seen it take down trees next door. Trees keep the environment healthy. We're in for a lot of grief because nobody is paying attention.

Check out a product called vine-X on I've read it works, but you have to apply it to the roots, which are in neighbors yard. That's my problem too. Sandy

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