How to get rid of vinca vine?

How to Kill Vinca Vine

vinca spring flowering carpet image by starush from

Some vinca vines, such as Vinca minor, are considered invasive plants in many parts of the United States. While vinca vines typically grow beautiful periwinkle flowers, if you fail to control it with a yearly pruning it can soon become invasive in your yard or garden. If your vinca vine is out of control, or if you just want to start over, there are several ways to kill it.

Mow over the vinca vine from spring until fall. If the vine is unable to grow, it will not be able to photosynthesize and produce food and will eventually die. If it begins to grow the following year, continue to mow it.

Remove a vinca vine manually, which is easier to do when the soil is moist. Take a garden rake and run it through where the vinca vine is growing to loosen the plant from the ground. Then pull it up near the base of the plant and continue to pull until most of the roots come up. There will most likely be more than one vinca vine in any one area. If you notice new growth appear later, pull it up again.

Kill a vinca vine with a non-selective herbicide, such as one that contains glyphosate. Apply it in the spring when the vinca vine begins to grow again and repeat when you see new growth appear. You can do this step independently of any other control measures, or you can apply the herbicide to any new growth in the spring after you mowed or pulled it up the previous season. Always adhere to the application instructions on the label and apply it on a warm, calm and dry day. Protect your eyes and skin with long clothing and goggles.

Killing vinca amongst plants I don’t want to kill

We have a mess! We have a 26 feet x 12 feet bed on the north side of our house. It has about 50 hostas that we don’t want to harm. Intermingled in and amongst the hostas is extremely thick vinca minor, which we mow down each spring to aid in blooming. However, over time, Kentucky bluegrass has gotten mixed with the vinca to a point it is out of control. We’ve decided we just want to remove all the vinca and just mulch the bed.

What is the best way to get rid of this thick mass of vinca without sacrificing the hostas? Should we wait until the hostas die back after the first frost, clean up their leaves and then spray an herbicide on the vinca? If so, what kind of herbicide? Or is there another way to better get rid of the vinca? Digging isn’t an option in a bed this size, and we’re not sure we would be able to remove all the bluegrass roots if we dug.

We also considered use a weed eater to cut it down to the dirt, then layering newspaper and mulch. But this won’t work entirely when we are in the thick of the healthy, large hostas.

We’re at a loss. Any suggestions?

Getting Rid Of Periwinkle Plants: Learn About Periwinkle Control Methods

Periwinkle, also known as Vinca or creeping myrtle, is one of the easiest to grow ground covers or trailing plants. However, its tendency to root at the internodes where stems touch the ground can make it an invasive competitor to other plants. Getting rid of periwinkle takes some serious elbow grease unless you wish to resort to chemicals. There are at least two useful periwinkle control methods in the following text.

Periwinkle Control Methods

Periwinkle is a very popular ground cover due to its glossy evergreen leaves and bright starry blue flowers. The plants establish and grow quickly, with remarkable tolerance to poor soils, unfavorable weather conditions and even mechanical damage. Mowing or string trimming the plant to keep it in a manageable condition works well in containing the tangled stems. But be cautious with the trimmings, as periwinkle will produce new plants with just a tiny bit of stem to ground contact, even once severed from the parent plant. This creates an issue, and many gardeners evince the desire to completely remove periwinkle ground cover.

It may seem sensible to just pull the plants, but any little bit of plant material or the presence of underground stems will send Vinca growing thickly again in no time. The waxy leaves are quite resistant to chemical herbicides as the cuticle repels any topical application. Control of periwinkle must remove all of the roots and stems to prevent recurrence. Some plants can be grazed out, but periwinkle is not edible to grazing animals due to a milky latex sap. Manual removal is the least toxic method but the roots may grow several feet in the ground so deep digging is necessary.

Control of Periwinkle with Herbicides

Several states classify periwinkle as an invasive weed. For periwinkle weed control in large areas where digging is not practical, use an oil based herbicide. The cuticle on the leaves repels water based applications, but the oil base will allow the chemicals to adhere to the leave and gradually travel into the vascular system of the plant.

Triclopyr mixed with mineral oil is effective but applications will need to be repeated as straggler plants crop up. Getting rid of periwinkle generally takes several seasons no matter what method you choose because of its hardiness and tenacity. Spray in winter when all other nearby vegetation has died back.

Remove Periwinkle Ground Cover Manually

Alright, it sounds like a pain in the-you-know-what, but manual removal really works best. Dig deep into the soil, starting at the edge of the problem area. Remember that periwinkle weed control relies upon complete removal of those roots, which may be several feet into the soil.

Make a two-foot trench around the area and loosen the first section of roots. Pull as you dig further into the bed, loosening the soil as you go. The next season, if you see any small plants forming, immediately dig them out.

In this way you will be rid of the ground cover permanently in a couple of years and other plants can take over the area. It won’t be easy, but it is a non-toxic removal that is effective.

Periwinkle: Pretty, or pretty invasive? Or both? | San Luis Obispo Tribune

Q: I love the look of the periwinkle plant, but my neighbor says it’s invasive. What does that mean exactly? — Lynn Fuccio

A: With beautiful blue flowers, the periwinkle plant certainly creates an alluring effect. Even the name sounds dreamy. But periwinkle may be a bit more mischievous than its easy name suggests. Vinca major and Vinca minor are common versions of the periwinkle plant. Both have similar growth habits and appearance.

Big periwinkle (Vinca major) is a low-growing vining plant. An evergreen perennial, it is quietly showy with oval-shaped, shiny green leaves that grow to 2 to 3 inches in length. Flowers are generally a pretty lilac blue, although there are varietals that have deep purple or white flowers.

Vinca major thrives in moist, rich soil and prefers zones 7 to 9. A sunny to partial shade area will suit it just fine, but a sunny spot will produce more flowers. It is often used as erosion control on a sloping area or as a groundcover in a large spot, but is not recommended for small gardens. Because of its loose growth habit, it is not quite as strong a weed control as other similar groundcovers.

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Common periwinkle (Vinca minor) is similar to Vinca major but has smaller leaves and flowers. This varietal tolerates a colder, shadier environment, but handles full sun. It grows in almost any soil, spreading rapidly, especially in rich, moist soil where it quickly becomes invasive. This plant thrives in zones 4 to 9, but appreciates a shadier locale in zones 8 and 9.

According to the California Invasive Plant Council, both Vinca varietals exhibit invasive characteristics. The periwinkle grows rampantly, often with root masses that reach several feet into the ground. This creates a competitive environment with native vegetation — often with the periwinkle ending up the victor. This dominance has a detrimental effect on native habitat and wildlife.

If you are an active gardener, undeterred by the work necessary to keep this plant in check, the periwinkle may be a pretty selection. But be warned, the demure appearance of the periwinkle belies a strong spirit that can become obstreperous before your eyes, taking over your zucchini bed and creeping into that neighbor’s yard. Remember, there is one way to have your plant and contain it too: place this lovely in a nice hanging basket or medium to large planter.

For information on other invasive species refer to the website

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