Take the 2-minute tour ×
Gardening & Landscaping Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gardeners and landscapers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have what seems to be Wild Grape Vines killing off my hedges. Is there any other recourse besides uprooting them all? Would clipping them down and spraying stump rot be another possibility?

share|improve this question

migrated from diy.stackexchange.com Apr 12 '12 at 19:16

This question came from our site for contractors and serious DIYers.

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The shortest answer is no. I have grape vines all over the property, and they will re-sprout from any stems underground, and from any roots thicker than 1/4" in diameter. The best method to remove them, in my experience, is to trim all excess vegetation in the hedge bushes 8" from the ground, down, with the crowns cleaned out, and cut everything else out to the ground level every few weeks. Tearing the roots out in moderation may help, but excessive digging will greatly weaken the hedge. This will be difficult at the beginning, but it looks great and well cared for when your done, and the vines underneath will eventually weaken due to the loss of photosynthesis. Also, putting a two foot wide strip of water-penetrable plastic down under each side of the hedge, leaving space for the bushes, and then adding a three inch layer of dyed wood chips helps greatly in keeping down weeds, and also looks great. Again, this is labor-intensive at the beginning, but eventually will come down to adding a new layer of mulch yearly, and cutting off all alien vegetation at ground level, plus the maintenance of the hedge itself.

share|improve this answer
1  
Hmm, I'm thinking of planting wild grape, Vitus Riparia. Maybe it's time for a re think on that. –  kevinsky Apr 13 '12 at 12:51
    
Tools for rooting: a pickaxe, a D-handle gardening fork, a pair of pruning shears you don't care about dulling, and a hori-hori or a small pruning saw you don't care about dulling. Some of these won't fit your situation; I haven't had grape to deal with. –  Ed Staub Apr 13 '12 at 13:11
    
DO NOT plant grapevine as a decorative plant unless you are willing and able to maintain it. When well-cared for, grapevine adds that Napa-valley touch to a trellised yard feature like a pergola or gazebo. However, grapevine will grow anywhere it can and will run rampant over any vertical surface. It can also grow in gaps between structural members of that fence or pergola, and as it grows it will push those members apart, destroying the structure. I have a fence that is falling apart because the previous homeowner thought grapevine would look good. Luckily, Weed-B-Gon kills grapevine. –  KeithS Apr 16 '12 at 17:31
    
This all is very climate-dependent, though. For those of us in zone 4, the grapevines don't make that much progress in a summer and die back in the winter. I have them in my yard, and it is harder to get them to grow enough to cover an arbor than it is to keep them in check. –  michelle Jun 18 at 14:10
    
@jmusser - yes, I was responding more to KeithS's comment. Sorry for the confusion! –  michelle Jun 18 at 20:09

Let me just say to begin: I... HATE... GRAPEVINE. While it's considered a decorative plant by many, for me it's become an insidious weed that resist my best efforts to eradicate it from my yard. I want to get rid of it because the previous homeowner didn't take care of it, and as a result its unchecked growth has resulted in my deck sprouting new shoots up between the boards all through the spring and summer, one of my fences having been systematically dismantled by vines creeping between structural members, and one of my trees looking like a scene from a haunted forest. It grows anywhere and everywhere it's allowed to, and except for a limited time during early summer when it flowers, it honestly doesn't look all that great (just a big green mess over whatever it's covering; with its 3-leaflet pattern it resembles poison ivy, and would you want THAT in your back yard?).

So, how to kill it. In the olden days, 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) mixed in fuel oil was recommended by the Forestry service to clear grapevine from tree stands. That's how hardy this stuff is, that you'd need to use the banned highly-toxic half of Agent Orange mixed with diesel fuel to have the best success. Weed-B-Gon (there are several formulations; look for ones containing 2,4-D and/or Triclopyr among the active ingredients) is effective at controlling young grapevine shoots and "beating back" overgrowth, but grapevine is "modular" enough that spraying it on outlying shoots will not kill the plant altogether. These chemicals are also uncommonly effective at killing "woody" plants, including grapevine but probably also the shrub they've infested.

The best solution I've found is physical dismemberment coupled with surgical herbicide use. To really kill it, you have to find the main root, sever it close to the ground, then poison what's left (otherwise the root will grow new shoots). So, I would recommend buying a concentrate product containing Triclopyr, cutting the vine off about 2 to 3 inches above the ground, and then painting the concentrated mixture onto both sides of the cut vine. Also watch out for basal roots. Grapevine can throw one of these down wherever it touches earth, allowing that part of the plant to continue to thrive long after you've found and killed the main root system;

Once the vine has died off, you now have a bunch of ugly withered vine in your shrub. The temptation may be to simply rip it out. Don't do this if you value the shrub. Grapevine uses a combination of adhesive tendrils and a twisty vine growth to attach itself to its climbing frame (be that another plant, a fence or trellis, or a brick wall). The adhesive remains long after the plant has died, and the vine itself is uncommonly sturdy. The best way to remove it is to cut it out. With a pair of pruning shears (and maybe a pair of bypass loppers for the heavier cuts) sever every Y-joint in the vine's structure that you can see, before gently but firmly pulling these disconnected pieces out. Never yank; if it doesn't lift out, cut away what you've been able to physically remove from the shrub and then go back in to pull more of it out.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.