vines on trees - Knowledgebase Question

milner, Ge
Avatar for sondrabags2
Question by sondrabags2
January 8, 2011
Most of my back yard is natural. I am cutting and pulling down what I can of the thorn vine that wraps its self around the tree trunk. I know I can not do this with the older trees. But, what can I do for the young ones. Other that cut to the ground what else can I do to get these vines under control..Thanks

Answer from NGA
January 8, 2011
Without seeing the vine, I'm not sure what it might be. There is a problematic vine in Georgia called Deer Thorn Vine (Smilax Vine). It has wicked thorns, it laughs at herbicides and it always seems to come back, no matter how much you pull it out. The thorny vine has waxy, heart-shaped leaves. As the smilax begins to grow from seed, it sends up a single shoot and produces an underground bulb. As the plant matures, a large cluster of bulbs is created. Only a few shoots will arise from the root mass; the majority of the bulbs lie dormant. If you kill one shoot, that bulb may die, but adjacent bulbs may send up shoots within a few days.

Greg MacDonald, Extension weed specialist for the University of Georgia, says control of smilax should focus on early detection and control before more bulbs are formed. If you find this noxious vine, better to dig it up rather than chopping it down.

Try to get all the bulbs out of the ground. The only other option is frequent sprays of a weedkiller like Roundup or Brush-B-Gon. Eventually the root mass will be depleted, but the process may take months, even years.

Hope you can get control of these vines.

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