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Dallas Morning News - August 19, 2021

Vines that are Serious Weeds


There are many troublesome weed vines but here's a rundown on some of the worst and most common. In general, these pest plants need to be physically removed and their returning growth sprayed with 20% vinegar herbicide. Stumps of larger vines can be killed by drilling holes and filling with molasses or salt peter (potassium nitrate).


Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) Wild morning glory is ranked among the dozen worst perennial weeds in the world. Control by increasing soil organic matter and removing all pieces of the plant.



Carolina snail seed


Carolina snailseed (Cocculus carolinus) Small white flowers, clusters of red berries. Perennial woody- stemmed vine. Looks like greenbriar but has no thorns. Do not let it get started. Hugely invasive. May be the hardest to control vine on this list.


Cat's claw vine (Dolichandra unguis-cati) Has 3-pronged claw-like climbing appendages that grasp onto plants or surfaces. Has yellow flowers in sunny locations. Underground tubers need to be dug out for control.


Cucumber vine, or creeping cucumber

Cat's claw



Creeping cucumber (Melothria pendula) Fast growing vine with edible fruit. Green (unripe) fruit can be edible eaten raw. Ripe seeds and fruit contain a powerful laxative - avoid purple or black fruit, only eat the light-green ones. Easy to control by pulling.


Greenbriar (Smilax spp.) High-climbing perennial. Black berries in fall. Woody vine with strong, thorny stems from large underground tubers. Leaves are deciduous and sometimes white-blotched. New tender growth is delicious in salads. A weedy pest for most folks. Control by digging out the large woody underground tubers.



Japanese honeysuckle


Honeysuckle, Japanese (Lonicera japonica) Evergreen aggressive climbing vine. Fragrant white and yellow blooms. Is sold but should be banned from use in this county. Too aggressive and invasive. Chokes out more desirable plants.


Ivy Treebine aka Sorrelvine (Cissus trifoliata) Perennial vine with green to reddish stems that are often warty. Climbs with tendrils. Greenish flowers. Thick fleshy leaves are dull green with small white hairs. Shiny black fruit that is inedible.


Peppervine (Ampelopis arborea) Resembles trumpetvine. Close cousin of grapes but just a big weed. Woody-stemmed, greenish white flowers in summer with berries in the fall. Reddish new leaves turn dark green at maturity. Berries start out green, then white, red and lastly blue-black.



Ivy treebine


Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) Deciduous vine grows in sun or shade and spreads easily underground. Has red berries and fall color. Do not allow to flower and produce seed. Physically remove plants and spray new growth with vinegar herbicides – or tether some goats in the problem areas.


Trumpetvine (Campsis radicans) High climbing deciduous vine. Showy orange and red trumpet-like summer flowers. Mother plant and all the hybrids spread badly to become severe pests causing major maintenance problems. This vine is horribly invasive and difficult to get rid of.


See more photographs and more details about all these problem plants and the vines I recommend in the Library Topics of





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