How to get vines out of trees

How to Kill Ground Vines Without Harming Trees | Home Guides

By Susan Lundman Updated December 15, 2018

When removing a vine that's winding its way up a tree or crawling along the ground where it doesn't belong, begin with the least toxic and most gentle remedies before resorting to chemical strategies. While you may want to take a machete to a marauding vine, such as English ivy (Hedera helix), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, it's often best to use regular garden clippers, pruners, rakes or hoes – along with a heavy dose of persistence.


Wear heavy gloves, long sleeves and protective glasses when killing vines, whether or not they are poisonous. The clothing will protect you from scrapes, scratches and toxic saps, and if you use herbicides, the clothing and gear will reduce the risk of skin or eye damage. Use hot water and plenty of detergent to separately wash any clothing that may have been tainted by herbicides. Then hang it on a clothesline to dry in the sun if you can.

Manual Removal

Although it is the most labor intensive of vine-eradication methods, manual removal is effective at killing unwanted vines. That said, it is also likely that you'll need to return to the site every six months or so to take care of any new growth. You can work at manual removal at any time of the year. To remove and kill vines, follow a few basic guidelines:

Use sharp pruners to cut the vine off the tree, leaving about 6 inches of the stem in the ground to deal with later.  Gently pull the vine to see if it has attached itself to the tree. If not, pull the vine off the tree using your hands or a rake.  If the vine is securely attached to the tree, cut another section of the stem at the highest level you can easily reach and let the rest of the vine die on its own. Pulling the vine away from the tree when it's attached can damage the tree's bark. If the vine is woody and as thick as a small tree branch, use a screwdriver or iron pry bar to lift it so you can insert your pruners into the gap. Protect the tree itself by placing a rag or thin piece of wood between the pry bar and the tree's trunk. If you can't pry up the vine's stem, use a small handsaw to cut through it, but be sure to stop before you nick the trunk of the tree. Pull up the underground portion of the vine if you want to remove it. The best method is pulling the vine horizontally through the soil, rather than pulling it upright and disturbing all of the soil along its route. Some vines may be easier to pull up after a rain or after watering the soil.


To avoid spreading diseases to trees and other desirable plants, disinfect your cutting tools after using them on vines by wiping the blades with a clean cloth or paper towel soaked with rubbing alcohol.


Herbicides are capable of killing vines effectively, but they could also kill neighboring plants or damage the bark on nearby trees. Apply herbicides to either the foliage of growing vines or to any small stumps of the vines that you may have left in the ground after cutting them off near the tree. You can also use a paintbrush to apply the herbicide to the vine's leaves. General tips for herbicide use include several common-sense guidelines:

Carefully read and follow all the directions on the product label. If you don't completely understand the product label, contact your local county extension office for help.
Apply the herbicide on a dry, calm day with no rain in the short-term forecast.  To minimize harm to bees and other beneficial insects, apply the herbicide in the early evening after the bees are finished with their work for the day. Don't use herbicides near creeks or ponds where they may harm aquatic animals. Apply within the temperature parameters provided on the produce label for best results.  Use herbicides when the vines are actively growing so the product is taken in quickly by the plants. If you cut some vines off near ground level, brush herbicide on to their cut ends right away before they have a chance to heal. Drape the tree's trunk in cardboard, plastic or heavy fabric to help protect it from exposure to chemical sprays.    Re-treat the vines as directed on the product label to catch any errant roots and stems that may resprout. 


Herbicides can be especially damaging to the bark and roots of young trees. If you decide to use a herbicide on your weedy vines, consider combining manual removal near a tree with herbicide treatment farther away from the tree. Glyphosate, the active component in Roundup, Accord and Eraser, may accumulate in a young tree's bark and take years to break down. Triclopyr, one of the active ingredients in Brush-B-Gone, Turflon and Pathfinder, has a half-life in soil of up to 90 days and is capable of moving into proximate groundwater.

Discarding the Vines

Cut vines may sprout or release seeds in a compost pile, so throw them away in a heavy garbage bag or just place them directly in your trash can. Vines treated with herbicides might bear lingering traces of chemicals, so throw them away in a heavy plastic garbage bag as well. You can leave cut vines in a pile on the ground and let them decompose naturally, but check them in a few months to ensure that they're not sprouting where you left them.


  • Friends of Sligo Creek: English Ivy
  • Times-Picayune: Rid Your Landscape of Clinging Vines
  • Penn State Extension: Use Glyphosate With Care Near Trees!
  • Ag PhD: How to Make Roundup Work Better
  • National Pesticide Information Center: Dirty Work Clothes: How Should I Wash Out Pesticides?
  • National Pesticide Information Center: Triclopyr
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Hedera Helix

Writer Bio

Susan Lundman began writing about her love of gardening and landscape design after working for 20 years at a nonprofit agency. She has written about plants, garden design and gardening tips online professionally for ten years on numerous websites. Lundman belongs to numerous gardening groups, tends her home garden on 2/3 acre and volunteers with professional horticulturists at a 180 acre public garden where she lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington State.

Why You Need to Remove Vines from Trees — Nashville Tree Conservation Corps

Why it’s important to remove vines from your trees

Homeowners are often unsure of what to do about large vines growing on their trees. A couple of small vines near the roots shouldn’t be a problem, but when a trunk and branches are covered in climbing vines, it can be harmful to the tree. 

As vines grow, they block air and light from reaching the tree.

Most vines are invasive, and are spread by birds who eat berries from vines, then nest in trees. Some vines will grow as hedges, shrubs or groundcover if planted in the open, but if a seed is deposited under a tree, the plant will grab onto the trunk to grow upward. In Nashville, common vines include English Ivy, Virginia Creeper, Poison Ivy and Euonymus, also known as Fortunes Creeper or Winter Creeper. According to Bo Arrington, NTCC board member and arborist with Bartlett Tree Experts, none of these vines are good for trees. Euonymus, however, does the most damage, growing quickly to engulf a tree as fast as it can. 

What to Know About Removing Vines from Trees

When vines get big and spread, they suffocate the tree. Their leaves block air and light from the bark, and the vine’s roots compete with the tree for nutrients in the soil below it. The vines have hairs that clasp onto and attach themselves to the bark, which puts more stress on the tree. These also make it hard to remove the vines, and frequently a crowbar or another tool is needed to pry them off. That’s why arborists, like Bo, recommend removing vines as soon as possible.

People usually want to keep and maintain English Ivy for its aesthetic. It doesn’t grow as fast, and if you trim it back, you can usually keep it without doing extensive damage to your tree. However, like other vines, it will slowly grow over and kill the tree if not properly maintained, so paying close attention is essential. The amount of time it will take to do damage depends on the tree and the type of vine.

A massive growth of vines like this one can suffocate a tree.

How to Get Rid of Vines

Removing Vines

When it comes to how homeowners can keep vines under control, Bo says, “You want to remove as much as possible, in sections of about 6 inches. Cutting in this way will make the vines unable to transport nutrients. When cutting the vines, it’s important to be careful not to damage the bark or the tree’s layers beneath it. The best way to do this is to use pruning shears and clip smaller vines from the tree.” For bigger vines, Bo says that sometimes a handsaw is needed. 

When removing vines at home, use gloves when touching the vines. Bo suggests using rubbing alcohol before and after on your hands to help reduce the risk of spreading the vine’s oils and causing irritation to your skin, especially when dealing with Poison Ivy. Winter is the best time to remove Poison Ivy vines, according to Bo. This is because the vines lose their leaves in winter, making them easier to reach and remove with less chance of irritation. However, whenever you notice vines growing on your trees, it’s essential to remove them as soon as possible for your tree’s own good.

Vines must be removed carefully to avoid damaging the tree.

Types of Vines That Grow on Trees

English Ivy is an evergreen, and is more star shaped than others. Euonymus has a round leaf, and Virginia Creeper has leaves that look similar to rose leaves. Poison Ivy looks like Virginia Creeper, but has sets of three leaves, rather than Virginia Creeper’s five. Poison Ivy’s vine is somewhat hairy, and it has white berries, rather than colored ones like some other types do. If you’re uncertain about a plant, or you have vines that are out of control, check with a certified arborist.

Large vines should be severed with pruning shears or a handsaw.

Vines can be good additions to a garden, for food or for their elegant, mature look, when managed properly with a trellis or regular maintenance. Invasive and dangerous vines, though, should be rooted out for the safety of humans, animals and other plants, especially trees. As always, checking with a certified arborist in your area is one of the best ways to know how to best manage vines in your yard. 

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Tree News, Nashville Tree AdviceLynn Greentree, urban, Shelby Avenue Arboretum2 Comments


How to get rid of ivy in the country - methods, means

Author Maria Reading 4 min Views 8.2k. Posted on

Garden ivy is more often an evergreen liana, used in ampelous, vertical gardening.

It is planted along the walls of houses, arbors, fences, its natural feature is to grow rapidly and cling firmly to everything that can serve as its support. If the ivy is not cut constantly, not to limit growth, it is able to flood the entire area, destroying all plantings under the opaque shoots.


  1. Types of garden ivy and growth features
  2. Methods of getting rid of ivy in the garden: List of effective
  3. Cabbage
  4. Weakening plant
  5. Herbicides
  6. Conclusion

Types of garden talus and Features In the zones of the Russian Federation, it is customary to grow 4 types of ivy:

  • Hedera helix (common). The length of the vine reaches 30 m, in the internodes there are sucker roots, with the help of which ivy clings to any surface. Used as a groundcover, the berries are poisonous.
  • Hedera colchica (Colchian). Powerful liana with leaves up to 25 cm, fast-growing, does not tolerate frost.
  • Ivy Boston (Parthenocissus). It reaches a height of 20-30 m, old vine trunks can be up to 10-15 cm in diameter. In winter, it throws off a leaf, in autumn it becomes purple-yellow. Growth rate up to 4 m per season.
  • Crimean ivy. Evergreen liana, reaches 30 m with trunk circumference up to 1 m.

Rapid growth, powerful root and the ability of any shoot to take root if it falls on the ground ensures the rapid spread of ivy over the site. Growing, the stalk gives life to a new vine, so getting ivy out is a very difficult task.

Methods for getting rid of ivy in the garden: a list of effective ones

The first thing a gardener should stock up on is great patience, it often takes 2-3 seasons to completely remove ivy from the site. In addition, the following tools are required:

  • Pruning shears, secateurs.
  • Rubberized gloves.
  • Fine tooth saw, for cutting thick shoots.
  • Clothing covering arms and legs.
  • Spray bottle.
  • Pesticides against weeds.

The last point is an extreme one, which is desirable for a gardener to use. Herbicides destroy all vegetation, plus they have carcinogenic properties, causing cell degeneration (cancer).


The extent of the work depends on how wide the ivy has grown in the area and how deeply the roots have penetrated into the ground. Young plants are dug up with a shovel, the shoots are rolled up, placed in a bag. You can not leave the smallest piece of creeper on the ground, it will grow and grow into a new plant.

If the ivy has grown over a large area, make a plan for destruction. The plot is divided into squares 2 * 2 or 3 * 3 meters. From each square, the vines are first cut and folded, trying not to damage them, put in bags or a cart. Then they methodically dig up all the roots, trying not to cut them off, but to remove them along the entire length, no matter how far they grow underground.

Everything dug up/cut off must be taken out of the garden. Even in a dried form, an ivy shoot, once in a humid environment, can germinate again.

Weakening the plant

This method is “long-term”, but is used in large areas when it is physically impossible to dig up and destroy the vine at once. The essence of the method is to weaken the root system, regular pruning of young shoots. The work is painstaking, almost everyday, it requires more than one season.

Long whips, if they rushed up through the house, onto a tree, are cut near the ground, leaving a "stump" about 50-90 cm from the ground. The upper lashes will gradually dry out, in winter, in frosts, they will be easy to remove and destroy.

"Hemp" is given special attention. All young shoots are carefully cut "under zero", preventing them from growing further. Gradually, the root system will weaken, vitality and nutrition will run out. In frosts, you can dig up the ground so that the roots freeze well.


How to get rid of ivy in the garden with herbicides?

Hazardous chemical compounds, do not use near food plants (berry, vegetable crops, etc.), act on leaves or in combination (leaf/root). To destroy ivy use:

  • Roundup (a.i. gilphosate), toxic to animals, humans. Destroys foliage, loses effectiveness in the rain. After processing, the vine cannot be cut and taken away for several days (poisoning of random people, death of animals).
  • Weed-B-Gon, used in dry, calm weather. Does not affect ivy root, nearby grass. Toxic to humans and animals.
  • Weedazol (a.i. Amitrol), sold as a powder, solution. Systemic herbicide, penetrating through the leaves, passes into the roots, gradually killing the ivy.

Work with herbicides only in a protective suit, gloves, mask and goggles. In case of contact with skin and mucous solutions, rinse thoroughly with running water.


Destruction of ivy is a labour-intensive, lengthy, painstaking process. The result depends on how much the plant has spread, the power of the root system, the length of the branches of the vine. Initially, it is better to limit the growth of ivy without resorting to radical methods - herbicides. Folk ways, in the form of vinegar, soapy water, etc. ivy does not work.

Creepers - vines

Creepers - climbers

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Category: Medicinal plants
Views: 28809
  • Trees
  • In the forest
  • Ecology

Trees grow vines

The trunks and branches of trees in the rainforest are hidden under a network of climbing vines that use any support to get out into the sunlight as soon as possible. Although their real kingdom is the tropics, thanks to the many amazing adaptations that help them survive, climbing plants are found in almost all corners of our planet. Because of the crowns of tall trees, the light almost does not reach the ground, so many plants have developed the ability to stretch upwards to the maximum, using any support for this - after all, exposing their leaves to the sun's rays here means surviving.

Biologists have determined that on one hectare of the Panama jungle, almost half of the trees are overgrown with vines, which make up 20% of the total plant biomass and provide more than 40% of the leaf litter. However, climbing plants are often found in our climate.

A tall plant needs a hard stem to be stable. The plant achieves an increase in the strength of the trunk or stem by accumulating a special substance - lignin; those cells in which it is deposited cease to be living elements of the plant and become exclusively fragments of the "framework". But you have to pay for this: the energy received in the process of photosynthesis, the plant is forced to spend on the formation of supporting elements to the detriment of growth.

Therefore, some of them have chosen a different strategy: using the trunks and branches of their neighbors as a support, they quickly increase the length of their stem without spending energy on strengthening it and forming branches. Their relatively thin and flexible stems are very different from the thick and stiff trunks that everyone else can do without. Climbing plants differ mainly in the degree of lignification of the shoot. So, lianas have strong stiffened stems - but not solid, like most plants, but consisting of separate “cylinders”, which, like rope fibers, give the stem additional strength.

However, even the presence of lignified fragments still does not allow these plants to maintain a vertical position - the fact is that a vine with a diameter of 7 cm bears as many leaves as a tree with a trunk 50 cm thick. Young vines can grow at a speed of up to 20 cm in day; older ones add about 5 meters per year. Having reached the crown of a tree, the liana grows and often goes to the tops of neighboring trees. 49trees. This plant is characterized by perhaps the longest pods in the world, reaching 3 meters in length.

All parts of the elephant liana contain a lot of saponins - harmless glycosides, the washing properties of which the aborigines use when bathing elephants. The internal structure of climbing plants is characterized by very wide vessels, including sieve ones, thanks to which water can quickly rise to a considerable height. Sometimes it is enough to cut the stem of the vine to make it flow like a tap, but often this liquid contains poisonous compounds or has a disgusting taste - this is how the plant is protected from animals who want to use its reserves.

Climbing plants are divided into climbers and climbers proper

Climbing climbers have various kinds of organs necessary for attachment to a support: clinging roots, tendrils of shoots or leaves, special cuttings, downward-pointing hooks formed from lateral shoots, hairs, clinging spikes . Today, about 2,500 species of climbing plants are known, which make up 90 different families, such as vines, gourds, bindweeds, aroids, orchids, and even palms. Climbing plants are attached to the support in a different way: their stem makes circular movements during the growth process, which makes it possible to wrap around the support in an ascending spiral.

Climbing plants include, for example, the well-known beans and bindweed. Some climbing plants use their clinging organs to climb large trees, others simply attach themselves to a young tree and wait for it to grow. However, they are all similar in one thing - in that incredible ingenuity, thanks to which almost any vegetative organ of such a plant can serve as a device for climbing up. In monstera perforated, a similar tool is adventitious roots that grow at the nodes, from which new leaves usually grow, and in common ivy, the entire underside of the stem is overgrown with clinging roots; they are so thin that they are able to cling to the slightest irregularities of the support, growing firmly into it.

They curl both up and to the sides

Whiskers have become the clinging organs of many climbing plants - they stretch up and to the sides until they find a support around which they quickly wrap themselves. Passionflower has tendrils transformed from shoots, peas cling to other plants with the help of modified leaves, and tendrils of grape ivy shoots have special shields at the ends that work like suction cups and can hold onto even the smoothest wall. Clinging tendrils are very sensitive to touch - for example, in plants of the pumpkin family, they react even to such a weak stimulus as touching with a finger. And if it turns out that the object to which the plant is trying to cling is too smooth and cannot serve as a support, the tendril grows further and looking for something better.

Having found such a support and hooked onto it with its tip, it curls up in the middle part into a tight spiral; shortening in this way, it pulls the main stem to the support, facilitating the search for tendrils from fresh shoots. otang real, or rattan - a climbing palm tree with a stem no thicker than a finger, found in Southeast Asia. The end of its upper shoot seeks support with the help of long thin antennae, additionally equipped with very sharp hooks. Clinging to a thick tree with them, it quickly reaches up. Sometimes the support does not withstand the additional weight, but even if it falls, the palm tree does not die, but begins to spread along the ground, continuing to grow. Its strong flexible stems, sometimes reaching 150 meters in length, are used in the manufacture of furniture, baskets and other wickerwork. The climbing palm belonging to the same family is in symbiosis with ants.

Having settled in the hollows of the plant, ants protect the palm tree from insects that would gladly feast on its fibers; while the food for the ants themselves is the secretion of aphids, which they breed on palm leaves. Passionflower corporal behaves very similarly. In the tongues of its leaves there are glands that produce sweet nectar, which is fed by ants of several species with different cycles of daily activity. This means that almost at any time of the day or night, the plant will be protected from harmful insects. Many climbing and climbing plants can destroy the trees they lean on, knocking them down with their weight or simply blocking their access to the sun. However, not all representatives of the flexible tribe are so aggressive: they are mainly relatively small and short-lived cereals that inhabit forest edges and clearings.

All creepers and climbers grow quickly

They do not reach the upper floors of the forest and often die when the tree tops deprive them of sunlight. Such plants include flat-leaved vanilla and giant passionflower, originating from South America. The large and beautiful flowers of the latter live only one day, but new ones appear every day; passion fruit is tasty and nutritious. Also, for a very short time - just a few hours - vanilla blooms, from which a valuable substance is produced, which is widely used in cooking. The shoots of most seedlings tend upward towards the light, but there are species that behave differently.

Monstera perforated grows in the forests of Central America. Its young shoots crawl along the ground towards the nearest tree; they, like other plants, feel where the light comes from, but, unlike most plants, they run away from it into deep shade. If there is no tree within a radius of 1.5 meters, the young shoot dies - but if a tree is found, the plant will soon crawl onto its trunk. When the monstera reaches the crown of the tree, its leaves will already be about 30 cm in diameter, and characteristic holes will appear in them, which gave the name to the plant. Most vines and climbing plants begin their lives on the ground. Throwing out numerous clinging organs, they find support by touch - and, if it is a tree, they crawl up, firmly clinging to its trunk, until they reach the top.

There are, however, plants that grow in the opposite direction. One of them is the banyan, or Bengal fig tree. Its seeds often germinate on trees, and the roots, unlike the roots of other epiphytic plants, do not just hang in the air, but grow further, to the very ground. Having reached the soil, they begin to absorb much more water and mineral components than can be obtained from the air. Growing on such a "diet", the banyan tree produces more and more roots that wrap around the trunk of the host tree.

Gradually, the tree is deprived not only of light, but also of nourishment, since at the top, numerous shoots of the fig tree obscure the sun, and below, its roots draw almost all water and minerals from the soil. After a few decades, the tree that sheltered the fig seeds on its branch dies; its trunk is rotting, but the roots of the fig tree, entwined around it, are already so thick and strong that they form a hollow, as it were, latticed cylinder, no longer in need of third-party support. Sometimes several banyans grow on the same tree at the same time, and their roots intertwine into a single mass as they grow; over time, this weave begins to look like a single plant with a crown with a circumference of several hundred meters. Panama rainforest researchers analyzed samples taken from the same banyan tree, and it turned out that in most cases it was two or three plants. This explains why on some "strangler trees" different shoots bloom and bear fruit at different times of the year - apparently, different branches belong to different plants, the annual fruiting cycles of which differ from each other.

Most of the large trees of the moist equatorial forests have to tolerate the proximity of creeping alien plants. Only palm trees are spared from such tenants, since the trunks do not have lateral branches and grow as a result of the development of a large bud at the top - the so-called heart of the palm tree. This bud, as the unbranched trunk grows, throws out new leaves, which after a while dry up and fall off - along with all the parasites that still managed to gain a foothold on them. Thanks to this, the trunk of the palm tree is always free from uninvited guests.

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  • Landing
  • Care
  • Vine
  • In gardens and household plots, you can choose a warmer place for planting grapes, for example, on the sunny side of the house, garden pavilion, veranda. It is recommended to plant grapes along the border of the site. The vines formed in one line will not take up much space and at the same time will be well lit from all sides. Near buildings, grapes should be placed so that water flowing from the roofs does not fall on it. On level ground, it is necessary to make ridges with good drainage due to drainage furrows. Some gardeners, following the experience of their colleagues in the western regions of the country, dig deep planting holes and fill them with organic fertilizers and fertilized soil. Pits dug in waterproof clay are a kind of closed vessel that fills with water during the monsoon rains. In fertile land, the root system of grapes develops well at first, but as soon as waterlogging begins, it suffocates. Deep pits can play a positive role in soils where good natural drainage is provided, the subsoil is permeable, or reclamation artificial drainage is possible. Planting grapes

  • It is possible to quickly restore an obsolete grape bush by the method of layering (“katavlak”). To this end, healthy vines of a neighboring bush are placed in grooves dug to the place where the dead bush used to grow, and sprinkled with earth. The top is brought to the surface, from which a new bush then grows. Lignified vines are laid on layers in the spring, and green ones - in July. They are not separated from the mother bush for two to three years. A frozen or very old bush can be restored by short pruning to healthy above-ground parts or pruning to the “black head” of an underground trunk. In the latter case, the underground trunk is freed from the ground and completely cut down. Not far from the surface, new shoots grow from dormant buds, due to which a new bush is formed. Grape bushes that have been neglected and severely damaged by frost are restored due to stronger fatty shoots formed in the lower part of the old wood and the removal of weakened sleeves. But before removing the sleeve, they form a replacement for it. Grape care

  • A gardener starting to grow grapes should study well the structure of the vine and the biology of this most interesting plant. Grapes belong to liana (climbing) plants, it needs support. But it can creep along the ground and take root, as is observed in Amur grapes in a wild state. The roots and the aerial part of the stem grow rapidly, branch strongly and reach large sizes. Under natural conditions, without human intervention, a branched grape bush grows with many vines of various orders, which comes into fruiting late and yields irregularly. In culture, the grapes are formed, give the bushes a form that is convenient for care, providing a high yield of high-quality clusters. Vine


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