Pink-Orange Flowered Trumpet Vines
trumpet vines
(Image credit: Daria Katiukha)

Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is a flowering vine that can be found over a wide portion of the United States. In many areas of the country they are considered invasive, and killing trumpet vine in these areas can be difficult. But with a little understanding you can get rid of trumpet vine, or even just contain trumpet vine to a small area so that you can enjoy its lovely, if unruly, beauty.

How to Contain Trumpet Vine

If you are not ready to kill trumpet vine, but are just looking to contain trumpet vine, there are many things you can do to accomplish this. The first thing you can do to contain trumpet vine is to place it in a container. To plant trumpet vine in the ground, simply dig a hole and place a sturdy container into the hole. Fill the container with soil and plant the trumpet vine in the container. This will contain trumpet vine plants by limiting where their roots can go. The other way how to contain trumpet vine is to dig a trench around it once a year. This trench will need to be 1 foot wide (0.3 m.) and at least 1 foot deep (0.3 m.). The trench should be dug at least 3 feet (1 m.) from the base of the trunk to avoid damaging the trumpet vine plant by cutting the roots too short.

How to Kill Trumpet Vine

If you are someone who has had a trumpet vine invade your yard, you may be wondering what kills trumpet vines? Many times gardeners try killing trumpet vine with a single application of an herbicide and are dismayed when the plant returns as strong as ever. Because trumpet vine is such a rugged plant, persistence is really the key when it comes to taking steps to get rid of trumpet vine. There are two basic methods for killing trumpet vine.

Digging to Kill Trumpet Vine

The trumpet vine spreads mostly by the roots, so eliminating the roots will go a long way towards killing trumpet vine. Dig up the plant and as much of the root system as you can find. It has a large root system and, usually, pieces of roots will remain in the soil and the plant will regrow from these. Because of this, you will want to keep a sharp eye out for regrowth. As soon as you see any shoots, dig these up as well.

Herbicide to Get Rid of Trumpet Vine

You can use various herbicides for killing trumpet vine as well. On the chemical side, a non-selective type is often used. Cut the plant off at the ground and paint the fresh cut stump with full strength weed killer. Again, this will most likely not kill the entire root system, so keep an eye out for further growth in the coming months. If you see any shoots regrowing, respray them immediately with herbicide. On the organic side, you can use boiling water as an herbicide to kill trumpet vines. Again, cut the vine at the ground and treat the ground 3 feet (1 m.) around the base with boiling water. Boiling water is effective, but some roots will escape and shoots will regrow. Keep an eye out for these and pour boiling water on them as you find them. How to kill trumpet vine is something that can seem near impossible, but it can be done. Being diligent in your efforts for killing trumpet vine, which every you choose, will be rewarded with a trumpet vine free garden. Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are more environmentally friendly.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.