The Q&A Archives: Weed Vine Among Ivy

Question: We have a nice "wall" of Ivy that grows on a fence around the back of our property. Last summer I noticed a very hearty weedy vine growing amongst the ivy. I removed as much as I could and have spent this spring doing the same. It seems to grow a foot or more in just a few days and sneaks up the fence (curling itself around)with tiny, thin shoots which later unfold and grow to a stalky group of stems with 8 or so pointed leaves. The shoots will also grow near ground level straight out into the yard and then unfold. The green shoots come from a woody base or alternately a woody root. The new shoots occasionally have a brownish tint. Since most of this is growing on my neighbor's property, the best I can seem to do is cut it back a far as possible. Do you have any idea what this weed is or if I have other options to kill it or at least slow it down?

Answer: I have just such a weed in my backyard! Though there are many vining plants that fit this description, I can't identify it without seeing it. I suggest: 1)ask your neighbor if they know what it is; 2) contact the county agricultural extension office (ph# 910/767-8213) and ask if you can send a sample in for identification.

One thing such vigorous perennial vines have in common is their staying power. With some, it's possible to "starve" them by diligently weeding all green growth to the point where the root stores are depleted, and can no longer send up shoots. But as long as part of the plant (on your neighbor's property) is allowed to grow, the roots will be replenished, and your efforts will simply maintain a status quo. Sometimes, heavy landscape mulches keep them at bay for a while.

You can also use a systemic herbicide. The extension office can tell you what to use once the plant has been identified. Use herbicides with caution -- follow the label instructions carefully. Best of luck to you!

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