Controlling Greenbrier: How To Get Rid Of Greenbrier Vine

Greenbrier Vine
Image by Tamara Harding

Greenbrier (Smilax spp.) starts out as a lovely little vine with glossy green, heart-shaped leaves. If you don’t know any better, you may even think it’s a wild form of ivy or morning glory. Leave it alone, though, and it will soon take over your yard, twining around trees and filling corners with giant piles of brambles.

Controlling greenbrier is an ongoing job once it gets established, so it’s best to get rid of greenbrier vine as soon as you identify it. Pay attention to the weeds you pull from your flower and vegetable beds so you can identify greenbrier weeds as soon as they pop up.

Greenbrier Plant Control

So what is greenbrier and how does it appear? Greenbrier vines produce berries that birds love to eat. The seeds pass through the birds and land in your garden, spreading the greenbrier plants around the neighborhood.

If you don’t find and eradicate these seedlings right away, underground stems will produce rhizomes that sprout multiple plants all over the garden beds. Once these plants appear, the vines will quickly grow up any vertical object, including its own stems. Once your garden has been taken over by these vines, it’s very difficult to eradicate them.

Tips on Getting Rid of Greenbrier Weeds

There are two basic methods for greenbrier plant control, and the method you use depends on how the vines are growing.

If you can untangle the vines from your good plants, do it carefully and lay them out on a long sheet of landscape fabric or plastic tarp. Be careful not to break any of the stems, since they can root again very easily. Spray the vine with a 10% solution of glyphosate. Leave it alone for two days, then cut it back to ground level.

Burn the vine to get rid of it; don’t put it in your compost pile. If small plants re-sprout where you killed the larger vine, spray them with the solution when they are 6 inches (15 cm.) tall.

If the vines are completely entangled in your plants, clip them off at ground level. Paint the stubs with a solution that has 41% or greater active ingredient glyphosate. If the small plant re-emerges, spray with the weaker solution just like above.

Note: Any recommendations pertaining to the use of chemicals are for informational purposes only. Specific brand names or commercial products or services do not imply endorsement. Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and more environmentally friendly

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