Image by Kristine Paulus
By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
Many gardeners become incredibly frustrated with Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). This five-leaved ivy is a prolific woody vine that climbs quickly, choking out everything in its path. This includes other flowers, trees, shrubs, fences, walls, gutters, poles and even windows. Virginia creeper is especially aggressive when planted in the shade.
Many people use Virginia creeper as a ground cover in large open spots and control rapid growth by clipping it frequently. Even though the vine is attractive, it can easily become a nuisance because of its aggressive climbing habit. When this happens, it helps to find out ways for getting rid of Virginia creeper.
Virginia Creeper or Poison Ivy?
Although Virginia creeper is often found growing with poison ivy, they are two distinctly different plants. Many times people will touch poison ivy mixed in with Virginia creeper and mistakenly think that the creeper caused the rash. Poison ivy has only three leaves while Virginia creeper has five. Virginia creeper leaves also turn bright red in the fall. Like poison ivy, this vine may need to be controlled. Keep reading for info on Virginia creeper control.
How to Get Rid of Virginia Creeper
Controlling Virginia creeper is best done when the plant is small; however, it is still possible to deal with larger plants, although it takes more patience and time. Virginia creeper control begins by pulling the vine from the structures or vegetation that it is clinging on to.
The sap in the plant can cause irritation to the skin, so it is recommended that you wear gloves. Young vines can be pulled by hand while larger vines require the use of a handsaw or other pruning tools. Cut away the vine, leaving only a small piece.
Once you have the vines untangled you can get down to the business of getting rid of Virginia creeper.
What Kills Virginia Creeper?
Although you can cut Virginia creeper back as it begins to invade areas of your yard, it gets old after a while. So what kills Virginia creeper then? The best product to use on Virginia creeper is diluted glyphosate.
Hold the vine away from your body and paint the product on the vine using a foam paintbrush. Be very careful not to get glyphosate on any other vegetation, as it is non-selective and will kill any vegetation that it meets.
Be sure to follow the dilution instructions on the product label and always wear gloves when working with chemicals.
Now that you know how to get rid of Virginia creeper, you have all the tools necessary for combating overgrown vines in your landscape.