How to get vine?

Q: In the last year, smilax, cat briar, or blaspheme vine has become a real problem in my shrubs. Cutting the vines is only a very short relief, and the darn things seem immune to RoundUp. I want to kill them down to the bottom of the tuber. Suggestions?

A: Smilax is a vine exquisitely adapted to the South and our Southern gardening habits. If we could only find a way to make use of it …

There are many species of smilax, and I can’t help but point out that some varieties of smilax, particularly the nearly thornless Jackson vine, are not only quite ornamental, but also quite delicious (the young stems are exceptional, like a nutty asparagus). The small trailing smilax of longleaf woodlands (Smilax pumila) is one of the most graceful and ornamental groundcovers for Southern yards. And coral greenbrier (Smilax walteri) produces some of the most beautiful fruits of any Southern vine. Yes, honest to goodness, I treasure some of my smilax.

But there’s no denying: The thornier smilax vines, the ones with the more-or-less heart-shaped leaves, can be a nuisance.

Once those leathery leaves harden off in spring, they won’t absorb common foliar herbicides such as RoundUp. And while the very young and soft leaves are susceptible to herbicide in March and early April, it can be hard to get them to absorb enough herbicide to carry it into the thick, underground root system.

The only alternative herbicide treatment is one that essentially sterilizes the soil for ALL woody plants. In other words, if you used other types of herbicide, you’d kill your shrubs and trees along with your vines.

I’m sorry the universe is the cruel place that it is, but there you have it: There’s no magic potion that will control smilax in the garden.

So I offer three suggestions:

1. Dig the root out. This is the least agreeable solution for large vines, since it can be very difficult to do, and you may destroy any nearby shrubs in the process. But if you catch the plants while young, you can often rip the root right out of the ground with a gloved hand.

2. Wear out the root system. Perhaps the most effective way to keep smilax out of your shrubs and trees is to prune it back to the ground as often as possible. This works better than you might imagine, as smilax needs a lot of light to survive. If you can keep a vine pruned back to the ground for most of the year, it will struggle mightily, and will eventually draw down all the reserves in that big root system. Smaller vines can much more quickly be controlled this way, so give your garden a regular inspection for smilax vines a couple of times a year, in early May and again in August.

3. Use the “long soak” herbicide application method in early spring. This takes some time, fiddling and patience, and has to be carefully timed, so it’s not worth it unless you have a particularly large and annoying vine.

During the growing season, cut the vine back to the ground, and wait for the new growth to appear. When the vines have gotten some length on them, and while they are growing vigorously and still light green, mix a small batch of Roundup Super Concentrate with water, at about half the strength called for on the package directions (do NOT use any RoundUp product that has any active ingredient other than glyphosate, and do NOT make it stronger than the recommended directions, or this trick will backfire).

Add a teaspoonful of water-soluble fertilizer (such as Peters’ or MiracleGro), mix it up, and then pour a couple of cups of the mix into a one-gallon plastic milk jug. Carry this contraption out to where the annoying vine is, and carefully thread the new vines into the milk jug, so that as much of the vine as possible is coated with the mixture. Set the jug carefully so it doesn’t tip over, and leave it for a few days.

Remember that the RoundUp mixture will kill any plants that it touches, so avoid spilling it.

The long-soak method works well with many vines, and I expect it will kill or substantially weaken even the oldest, most troublesome vines.

Q: My question has to do with river birch blight. I have a beautiful birch tree that has been losing leaves ever since leafing out in the spring. Most of the leaves just turn yellow (not black) and drop off.

This has been going on for months and it is still not very noticeable on the tree. I’ve researched the subject (online), but found little agreement on diagnosis and treatment. I’ve learned that it is not a fatal or contagious condition. But is it chronic? Is it treatable? If so, with what? How expensive is it? And how long does it take to work?

The ground under the tree (which is a flower bed) and the lawn around it have looked like an autumn scene all summer and I’ve been raking leaves almost weekly since April. As much as I like the tree, I’m not looking forward to having another summer with a “fall” view. If more leaf drop is the prognosis, there may be more coming down from my tree than the leaves.

A: While many sources describe river birch as “disease and pest resistant,” I find that it seems to be particularly susceptible to disease along the immediate Gulf Coast. I suspect that has a lot to do with our frequent rainfall and high humidity. The leaf blight you describe is just one of the issues — and I fear there may be other leaf diseases in this climate that have not yet been identified by scientists.

North of the coast, where rain and humidity are a little less intense, gardeners suffer from only occasional outbreaks during unusually wet years. But here on the coast, almost EVERY year is “unusually” wet, and thus, you can count on pretty severe leaf drop. Typically, half the leaves fall at one time. The trees releaf, but often suffer another outbreak during our long growing season.

In many cases, aphid insect outbreaks may compound the problem. Ever notice your trees dripping “honeydew”? That’s the aphid.

Judging by the generally short life and poor health of river birch in our area, I’d bet there are other problems here on the coast that complicate their existence, including perhaps high night temperatures in summer and soil disease issues.

There’s no easy way to treat a big tree for disease, no matter how much money you throw at it. I’ve seen half-hearted recommendations for specially designed fertilization plans combined with lime-sulphur applications in winter and multiple applications of toxic fungicide to ALL the leaves in spring and summer. This would really only be practical with small trees. Even if it worked (and I kinda doubt it will), small trees will quickly get too large for reasonable applications. (Just for fun, imagine how you’re going to direct a spray so that it will coat ALL the leaves of a 30-foot-tall tree multiple times a year.

Maybe we’ll eventually find river birch varieties better adapted to coastal conditions. Until that time, I recommend avoiding the commonly sold river birch varieties.

As for your trees, your “ultimate” solution may be the best one. If you decide to keep your trees, I recommend keeping them as comfortable as possible so that they’ll be able to recover from nearly continuous leaf loss. Mulch around the tree for six to 10 feet to help retain moisture, water during dry periods, and occasionally add a high potassium and low nitrogen fertilizer in fall.

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Tuesday – December 16, 2008

From: Montgomery, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Ways of eliminating smilax bona-nox
Answered by: Barbara Medford


How can I get rid of “smilax bona” or green briar vines besides digging them up one by one? I have been told by Harris County Ext. Office to just mow them.. Ha Ha Good luck with that. Is there any herbicide available to get rid of them more quickly and easily?


If it’s any comfort to you, Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier) has been the bane of gardener’s existence for a very long time. Smilax makes a thick, hardened root in which it stores water and nutrients. Hand pulling Cat-brier usually only breaks off the top-growth which the root quickly replaces. Dig and destroy these root storage organs and you will destroy the plant. This is never easy and is often impractical or impossible. Cutting new growth a few inches above the soil and painting the remaining stub with an herbicide labeled for that purpose is the most common control method.

Unfortunately, persistance is also required, there is no quick fix. This plant has long, large underground root systems to tubers that can be as big as a potato. Getting to that with herbicide is very difficult. However, speaking from experience, we moved onto a property that had been farm land with large oaks that were infested with the briers. Over a period of years, just digging them out, cutting them off, a certain amount of cursing, we did finally eradicate them.

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Q: What is this vine and how can I eliminate it from my yard? Or should I? Maybe it serves some useful purpose I don’t know about. It has miserable thorns and appears everywhere I want to be. They seem to grow in bunches and have blue berries on them in winter.

A: No one smiles when they encounter smilax!

It has wicked thorns, it laughs at herbicides and it always seems to come back, no matter how much you pull it out of your shrubs each spring. Smilax, also called deer thorn, catbrier and “that *^[email protected] %* !! sticker vine”, is one of the toughest perennial vines with which a gardener has to contend.

The thorny vine with waxy, heart-shaped leaves wends its way through azaleas, English laurel and perennial flower beds with impunity. Smilax has blue, berry-like fruit that birds enjoy —but this vine is no joy to control.

As the smilax begins to grow from seed, it sends up a single shoot and produces an underground tuber. As the plant matures, a large cluster of bulbous roots is created. Only a few shoots will arise from the root mass; the majority of the roots lie dormant. If you kill one shoot, that root may die, but adjacent roots send up shoots within a few days.

Control of smilax should focus on early detection and control before roots are formed. If you find this noxious vine when it is young, dig it up rather than chopping it down. Try to get all the roots out of the ground.

When you have a mature specimen, you can try starving it by continuously clipping the sprouts as they appear over a year’s time. For herbicidal control, spray leaves with whenever you see them.

My neighbor found a smilax root 13′ long!

Tags For This Article: azalea, birds, herbicides, Roundup, Spring

Q: Can you identify a vinelike weed that is wrapping its way up our Texas mountain laurel and spirea? How can I get rid of it without harming other plants?

M.R., Houston

A: The vine in your photo is smilax, aka deer thorn and cat brier. This thorny perennial vine has waxy, heart-shaped leaves. It loves to wind its way through my azaleas, wrap its tough stems around my tall iris and climb through the chain-link fence. Birds love the berries.

Getting rid of it takes patience. Once the seed germinates, a shoot emerges and soon produces a bulb. Before long you’ve got more shoots and bulbs. I try to cut a shoot when I see it as I figure the connected roots and bulb will die. But I have to watch for shoots emerging elsewhere.

Eventually you can get rid of all the roots and bulbs. You can try to dig out as many as you can. Herbicides might help, but I don’t like to use them, especially around plants I want to keep.

Q: It’s been a beautiful spring in the yard, and I’d like to get another round of blooms from some of my plants. Will my giant white calla lilies send more blooms if I cut the spent stalks? Which of the following salvias will rebloom if pruned by a third or more: ‘Wendy’s Wish,’ ‘Indigo spires’ and ‘Mesa Purple’?

D.S., Houston

A: I remove spent calla lilies because I don’t like looking at them, but cutting old flowers does not encourage more.

I prune ‘Wendy’s Wish’ after every flowering cycle because the plant gets so big. This creates a fuller plant with more blooms on the new growth. ‘Indigo Spires’ should also get a good trim after a bloom cycle. This plant gets so floppy otherwise. Salvia greggii ‘Mesa’ may need only a slight trim to remove spent flowers as it’s more compact.

Q: I live in a new subdivision with small backyards and no trees. I want an evergreen to hide the wood fence. I’m considering vines that can grow on the fence without mesh or chicken wire supporting them. Would English ivy work in full sun? Do you have any suggestions?

P.H., Katy

A: Skip the English ivy, which doesn’t like intense sun.

You don’t say what size plant you need, but Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ is an option. It’s a moderate grower with a pyramidal shape to about 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. ‘Spartan’ may grow faster to 15 feet tall and only to 3 or so feet wide.

Vines may be annual or perennial, deciduous or evergreen. Twiners wrap their way up with spiraling stems or with tendrils, small corkscrewing appendages. Clingers hold on with their roots or thorns. Most vines need some support to reach the top of a fence. You might consider placing decorative yet functional trellis panels in front of your fence, then training the vines on them. Some nice-looking iron panels have long, sturdy prongs that push into the ground for support.

One of the best vines for smaller areas is the 12- to 18-foot-long butterfly vine, or yellow orchid vine (Mascagnia macroptera). The clusters of lacy yellow flowers provide a warm contrast to its dark-green leaves. The 1-inch, orchidlike blooms are followed by large, chartreuse seed pods that resemble butterflies, thus the vine’s name. The delicate-looking flowers attract the insects that like nectar, such as bees and butterflies.

As new flowers continue for months, yellow-green seed pods cling to the vine and age to light, then dark tan. It’s evergreen in mild winters, but should freezing temperatures burn foliage and stems, the vine loses no time sending up new shoots in spring.

Fast-growing coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) reaches 30 or so feet and is covered with masses of hot-pink or white butterfly- and bee-attracting blooms summer into fall. It’s root-hardy but not evergreen in cold winters.

Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) is an 8- to 10-foot twiner with yellow, orange or white blooms with a contrasting eye. It flowers spring-frost.

Purple hyacinth bean vine (Dolichos lablab) has white and purple flowers and purple pods from late spring and summer into fall. It can reach 30 feet and survives mild winters.

Q: The cutting I started from my golden cestrum is almost 3 feet tall, blooming and growing like a weed. I’ve never seen a healthier plant. I’d love to move it from its clay pot into the garden, but I fear a fatal transplant shock. Should I nurse it in the pot through summer or would you take a chance on a May transplant and hope for the best?

P.E., Houston

A: I can’t guarantee your plant will survive a transplant now, but odds are pretty good, especially if you keep an eye on it. Since it’s growing so fast, it will outgrow your pot, perhaps before fall. In addition, containers require frequent watering during the summer.

I’d be tempted to transplant now in a place with adequate light and a well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist while the roots establish. If you’re thinking about transplanting to full sun, you might shade the plant for a while if it’s hot.

I moved a huge golden cestrum from our front garden to the back to give it more room. It didn’t blink.

At least you have the mother plant to supply you with more cuttings should this transplant fail.

Q: Can you identify this vine? Is there some way to increase the blooms? I fertilize it regularly.

S.C., Houston

A: It’s a bower vine, Pandorea jasminoides. Hold off on the fertilizer so the vine won’t put on so much growth at the expense of blooms. Vines also tend to flower more as they age.

Q: We fought oleander scale last summer and fall. But one plant still has the insects. If I replace it with another oleander, will the new plant also get scale?

S.C., Houston

A: There’s no guarantee a new oleander won’t get scale. If you see only a few on a plant, you might scrub them off. Otherwise, consider treating both sides of the leaves with horticultural oil. Read the label before applying. Test a spot before treating an entire plant. Two or three treatments may be needed to gain control.

Controlling Greenbrier: How To Get Rid Of Greenbrier Vine

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: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.

I foresee the briar dieing and whatever remains up in the trees will rot . Your browser does not currently recognize any of the video formats available. .. sporadically and lots of grass growing instead of weeds and vines.

Growing a weed-free lawn can be stress-free when you take a few simple preventative steps in early spring before weeds take hold. To truly kill weeds, you need to dig down to the root. Lawn weed killer Roundup for Lawns is a product that kills off weeds but preserves your lawn. Killing briars in pasture – posted in Pasture & Grazing: I have a few areas in one of Is there a product that will kill the briers and not the grass?.

Crossbow is a vegetation management product which means it is not very selective, it will kill almost anything. Although it will not harm a tree. The customer wants the pasture to stand in nothing but grass. What do I do? Is there a product that will kill the briers and not the grass? Will I. Can I get some helpful hints on how to kill briers that keep coming back time and are not getting all the root. the root system of briars grows outward and can.

10 Jun – 3 min – Uploaded by gregthegardener We all have a plant, or a problem woody weed that you cut out, but it keeps growing back. Let.

Is there anything we can use to kill them off that isn’t really expensive or complicated? The horses can easily be kept off the land, so that’s not. Page 1 of 2 – How to kill briars – posted in Weed and Pest is that I could not plant the alfalfa and I could plant the field in orchard grass. Do. How to Kill Briar Vines. By April Sanders. SAVE. Brier or briar vines (Smilax spp.) This method should be used on vines that are not near any desirable plants.

these briar patches are difficult to control, and their hard, broad-based thorns and few to no hairs. metsulfuron will kill ‘Pensacola’ bahiagrass and will.

How can you kill and prevent weeds and save your sanity? As always, ask Grumpy. . It kills only grasses and will not harm broadleaf plants. Awful Weed # 8. The old pasture (turned to hayfield a couple of decades ago) around my Remedy works on briars that are mature and does not do nearly as well on . Spraying herbicides will kill the blackberries/briars but they will dry up. BEST ANSWER: I do not know what spurweed is, but I am using one cup to one gallon for briars, and they are about as hard to kill as anything. Reply; Inaccurate .

Many natural remedies and products will not only work, but they may also kill surrounding grass, plants and flowers. When using a recipe, make sure to apply to.

Once that stuff hits the soil it’s bound up and the plant will not absorb it. the only way to hold the “walls” at bay is going to be to kill the.

Fall is the best time to apply herbicides for blackberry briar control. However, blackberry control can be tricky and can fail if not timed properly. than one herbicide application to eradicate blackberry in any given pasture. What do I need to spray to kill these briars without damaging the rest of my grass. Tou may have to copy and paste the link if it does not work. A briar patch is a thorny, tangled patch of vines. This will not kill them entirely in most cases, but it will slow their growth down Be sure to hit only the vine when you are spraying, since vinegar will also kill your grass.

Very few herbicides will kill hard, woody stem material. Topping is not effective to control the growth in year one but can be carried out on the.

Stickers in your lawn are no fun. Also known as grass burrs, sand burrs, grass stickers, and pricking monsters, here’s what you need to do to get.

As I said earlier, I use vinegar only on walkways, where grass and ornamental plants are not an issue. (Need to eradicate weeds from a garden.

I usually use grazon 90 under fences but can anybody recommend a stronger terbel i get a great kill on briars furze nettles i think it was about 40 euro/ . and such like,,, it’s fairly effective,, might no do the grass much good.

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6 Pasture Weed Control Tips For The Fall

  • Spray the right rate at the right time. Annual weeds in pastures are generally most susceptible early in the season, when they’re about 2” tall and actively growing, and when soil moisture is adequate. The lowest labeled rates will be effective then. A broad-spectrum herbicide with residual control at higher labeled rates will control weeds that germinate after spraying. Contact herbicides, such as 2,4-D, are effective only on emerged weeds and won’t effectively control weeds that sprout after application. Treat weeds while they are actively growing, but before flowering and seed production. Keep in mind that you’ll need to increase herbicide rates as the plants advance in their life cycle.
  • Consider mowing – not spraying – drought-stressed or mature weeds. Weeds without adequate moisture that aren’t actively growing will be difficult to control with herbicides. Don’t spray unless you’re willing to accept less control. Mowing biennial and perennial plants will set them up for fall treatment when they generate regrowth.
  • Follow label directions for application and mixing. For ground broadcast, apply the recommended herbicide rate in 10-20 gallons of total spray mixture per acre. For brush control, use at least 20 gallons/acre to ensure thorough coverage. For either weeds or brush, use the recommended rate of an ag surfactant to thoroughly wet the foliage. Consider a drift-control additive to reduce drift and improve deposition.
  • Use herbicides with good soil residual activity carefully. They shouldn’t be used on cropland or land to be rotated to crops. Herbicide-treated grasses may, for a time, carry a residue that can be transferred to the soil by hay, livestock manure or urine. Be sure to read and observe all label precautions. Fine more information on rangeland and pasture weed control, weed identification, species-specific rate and timing recommendations here.
  • Herbicide Review

    Here is a quick summary of common herbicide options:

    • 2, 4-D ester 4E (1/2 to 1.5 pt/A) – 2, 4-D is a systemic herbicide that controls annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaves. The ester formulation is slightly more active than the amine and should not be used post–emergence if temperatures are greater than 80°F. 2, 4–D is commonly tank mixed with other herbicides (e.g., dicamba) to improve control and broaden weed spectrum. This is a good, inexpensive herbicide with limitations. It tends to be weak on a number of weed species including wild carrot, dock species, bedstraw, horsenettle, hemp, dogbane, common milkweed, pokeweed, brambles and most woody perennials. It has a 7 day grazing and 30 day haying restriction. Check product labels as some restrictions/uses vary.
    • Clarity 4S or Banvel 4S (0.5 to 4 pt/A) – Clarity/Banvel (dicamba) is a systemic herbicide that controls many annual and biennial broadleaf weeds and provides suppression or control of numerous perennials. Clarity/Banvel is commonly tank mixed with other herbicides (e.g., 2, 4-D) to improve control and broaden weed spectrum.
    • Overdrive 70WDG also contains dicamba in addition to diflufenzapyr (a synergist) and can be used in established grass stands (not seedlings) for control of numerous broadleaf weeds. The Overdrive use rate is 4 to 8 oz/A and can be tank mixed with numerous herbicides. Dicamba is fairly broad spectrum but tends to be weak on wild carrot, buttercup species, dandelion, milkweed, and bedstraw to name a few. At 1 to 2 pints/acre, dicamba has a 21 day grazing and 51 day haying restriction. Overdrive does not have any grazing or haying restrictions.
    • Cimarron 60DF (0.1 to 1 oz/A) – Cimarron (metsulfuron-methyl) is an ALS – inhibitor herbicide that controls many annual, biennial, and some perennial broadleaf weeds, depending on the rate used. It can be used in established warm or cool season grass stands. For most grass species, do not apply until one year after establishment (minimum of 6 months); timothy and fescue require a longer period. It is often tank mixed with 2, 4-D or dicamba to increase activity and weed control spectrum. This combination provides good control of weeds like Canada thistle, bull, musk, and plumeless thistle, and multiflora rose to name a few. COC or NIS must be included in the spray solution. Cimarron does not have any grazing or haying restrictions.
    • Milestone 2L (3 to 7 fl oz/A) – Milestone (aminopyralid) is a newer active ingredient labeled for grass hay and pasture. Milestone controls many annual, biennial, and perennial broadleaf weeds and is effective on thistles (Canada, bull, musk, plumeless), burdock, dock species, bedstraw, horsenettle, knapweed, sowthistle, ironweed and others. It is less effective on wild carrot, hemp dogbane, common milkweed, and most brush species to name a few. Milestone can be tank-mixed with other herbicides and the addition of NIS is recommended to enhance activity. Milestone is non-volatile. ForeFront R&P 3L (1.5 to 2.6 pt/A) is a premix of aminopyralid plus 2,4-D that can also be used in grass hay and pasture to broaden the spectrum of activity. Milestone has no grazing or haying restrictions, while Forefront has a 7 day haying restriction. For both Milestone and ForeFront, special manure handling precautions are recommended to prevent injury to sensitive broadleaf plants (see label guidelines).

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