Kill Virginia Creeper ... Not Quite Organically

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Posted by @greene on
Not long ago NGA member WARYR1 posted a query in the Ask A Question Forum: "What is an organic way to get rid of Virginia Creeper?" The question received many excellent replies. To date, there are 23 replies. One suggestion involved pouring herbicide into a trash can and stuffing the vines into the can. The purpose of that method was to contain the herbicide and reduce the risk of damage to desirable plants.

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The question posted by WARYR1 and the responses set my mind to thinking. Could there be another way to kill Virginia Creeper? Not organic, but some method that uses the least amount of herbicide?

I tried surfing the Internet, looking at weeds and how to eliminate them, and I came upon several products which looked interesting, but were very expensive. Using the expensive tool, one would inject herbicide into the target plant. Not only was the tool expensive, but one would also need to purchase different formula herbicides, depending on which plant was being targeted.

This one is what started me thinking ... how to beat the price of $250 plus the cost of herbicide.

Since I like to design and construct things so I have my own tools, I set to work to see whether I could kill Virginia Creeper using only items I had on hand.

I would target the large Virginia Creeper which has been growing up into an oak tree. Here is a photo of the oak tree. As you can see, it is a very large oak tree with a huge Virginia Creeper growing from the ground to high up in the branches. (You can also see the dead poison ivy, which I so carefully painted with herbicide. Whew, that was a lot or work!)
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Here is the process:
Drill a whole not quite to the center of the stem. Using my battery-powered drill driver with 1/4" bit, I made 3 holes along the vine. For smaller stems/branches, use a smaller drill bit or even a syringe if you have one. Keep in mind that you will be pouring liquid into the hole, so try to aim for something perpendicular to the horizon to avoid having herbicide spill out onto desirable plantings

Using the paper funnel to direct the flow, measure a very small amount (1/4 teaspoon) into each hole. A disposable paper funnel would be useful to avoid wasting or spilling the herbicide. You can get these funnels at most auto parts stores or just roll a piece of paper into a funnel shape.

After pouring the herbicide into the hole(s), use a bolt, screw, or short piece of stick to plug the hole -- just something to keep the rain out and the herbicide in. Plug each hole with bolt, screw, or stick.

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And then wait.... Put your feet up; take a walk, watch a movie.... This might take awhile. Be prepared to wait for several weeks as some herbicides can take anywhere from 1to 4 weeks to take effect; and some can take as long as 8 weeks.

Two days, let me repeat that, two days after starting this experiment, I was walking my dogs in the back yard when I made an observation. There were lots of green leaves scattered all over the ground under the big oak tree. For a moment my heart skipped a beat but thankfully these were not oak leaves. Looking more closely, I saw that they were all Virginia Creeper leaves. Huh? The experiment is working? So fast? Is that possible?!

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I walked over to the low hanging Virginia Creeper that is loaded with seeds. This particular piece of the plant always smacks me in the face while I am mowing the lawn. I will not be sad to see it disappear.

Here is the evil Virginia Creeper branch loaded with seeds and hanging in my face.
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Here is an image taken from inside the house through the window screen on day 4. You can see that the leaves are disappearing quickly.
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And here is a beautiful sight: dead Virginia Creeper!
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Sure, I know there are expensive and sophisticated systems that are available and will accomplish the same thing, but this was an experiment to see what I could accomplish by spending no additional money, just using things I had on hand. Hope you like my method and will try it on a Virginia Creeper in your neck of the woods.

Is this an organic way to eliminate Virginia Creeper? Heck, no! But it uses the least amount of herbicide and limits the possibility of harming desirable plants. I want to thank WARYR1 for setting the wheels of my rusty brain in motion.

If using this method to eliminate poison ivy, please wear long sleeves and disposable gloves and be prepared to clean all tools to remove the toxic oils.

Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Good job Greene by grannysgarden Sep 30, 2019 2:31 PM 8
Untitled by nancycarrr Jun 29, 2018 6:10 AM 0

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