The Q&A Archives: Weedy Vine

Question: There is a vine over my fence that has white flowers. The leaves are heart-shape and green. When it rains it grows fast and covers the ground. The stems are long and stringy and when pulled, emits a stench and a milky, sticky liqud. What is it called and how can I get rid of it permanently?

Answer: What you describe sounds like BIGROOT MORNINGGLORY (Ipomoea pandurata). Growing without competition, bigroot morningglory can produce 3000 seeds per plant. Roots send up new shoots in mid-May to early June but seeds germinate throughout the growing season. Flowering begins in mid-July for first-year plants, mid-June for older plants, and continues until the frost. Flower stalks exude a milky sap if broken or crushed. Control is difficult because bigroot morningglory emerges late, has a large taproot that extends well below 12", and can reproduce from root cuttings. Post emergence herbicides generally provide good control. (Round-Up, applied according to label directions.)

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