Virginia Creeper is an interesting plant. In the spring and summer, it will bring some trouble, but in the fall it will delight gardeners with bright colors. The leaves of this plant are like the leaves of grapes; in the fall they gain chic shades of colors. In fall, its leaves turn bright orange, burgundy, red, yellow, orange, and light green. Such a palette of colors will delight the eyes of any passer-by.
You can buy seedlings of this plant in gardening stores. Most often it is planted along the fence, and then a beautiful hedge is obtained. But if you stop caring for the plant, do not cut off the branches in time, then after a few years, such a plant will become a pest. If you missed this point and now do not know how to get rid of Virginia Creeper, we advise you to read this article in detail.
Virginia Creeper or what is a plant
This plant visually reminds us of our favorite grape bushes, which can be found in many front gardens. Virginia Creeper is also called girlish grape. The plant received this name for its ability to bear fruit without pollination. But unlike our beloved grapes, Virginia Creeper fruits are inedible. The primary qualities of the plant are unpretentiousness, the ability to quickly weave the vine and spread throughout the garden, high resistance to herbicides, and resistance to weather conditions.
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If a vine of this plant has appeared in your garden, it will be difficult to deal with it. Vines can grow up to 20 pounds in length over a few years. The vine is unpretentious, can grow both in height and trail along the ground, quickly releases the root system, and grows deep into the ground. This plant can cover the walls of a house, a fence, braid and strangle fruitful bushes and trees, and destroy a lawn in several years. Perennial shoots have very dense wood. And even though many people use this plant as a decoration for the facades of houses and hedges, most often this plant turns into an annoying weed.
Disadvantages of weed, why is it harmful
If we use the weed as a decoration, we look it after and we cut the excess vine off in time, then there will be no problems with such a plant. But if you leave this process, then over time you will see such disadvantages:
- The root system is very strong and capable of penetrating under the foundation of a building and thus destroying it;
- The vine tightly braids the facade. If you do not cut it off in time, it penetrates the walls, under the roof, and thus cracks appear. The house collapses;
- If the vine covers the ground, then over time it disrupts the process of evaporation of excess moisture. Mold forms under the vine which has a detrimental effect on the lawn and plants under the vine;
- Overgrowth can damage the surface of the paths, clog the drain;
- With its root system, the vine blocks the growth of fruitful plants, bushes, and flowers. It blocks the entry of useful minerals and substances into the root system of fertile plants;
- Berries when rotting have a specific smell.
The vine is difficult to control; it grows very quickly, so do not let the plant grow too far.
What are the ways to deal with Virginia Creeper?
It will take a lot of effort and time to remove the vine completely. This is a very laborious and time-consuming process. The denser the vine grows and the more of it on the site, the longer you will have to deal with it. The more methods you will need to use. Forget about folk methods of struggle. Such methods will not bring results, you will simply waste your time and energy. In a year, you are unlikely to remove the plant from your site. But if you perform the following activities regularly, then most likely in 3-4 years this plant will stop bothering you and causing harm.
Virginia creeper is a very hardy plant, unpretentious to weather conditions. That is why, in the fight against this weed, use only such methods as:
- Treatment with chemical herbicides;
- Mechanical impact on the vine and root system.
Weed removal using a mechanical action
To work as efficiently as possible at this stage, you will need special equipment. Prepare in advance gloves, pruning shears, an ax, a hacksaw for wood, bags for collecting vines, a stepladder (needed if the vine has braided the facade of the house or is woven through the trees).
This process is very time-consuming. At this point, you need to cut off any vines that are growing vertically or that are on the ground. Over the years, it forms a hard layer of wood at the shoots, so it will not work to cut some vines with a pruner, it will need to be sawed or chopped with an ax. It is also difficult to remove the vine because of the tendrils with which they firmly attach it.
We recommend starting this process by looking for the main vine that grows from the rhizome. You can separate it using an ax. Next, you will gradually unravel vine after vine, cut off young growth with pruning shears, and cut the older one with a hacksaw. This process can take you several days or even weeks. It all depends on the area that Virginia Creeper captured.
After you have cut the vine, the area should be well cleaned of thin branches, tendrils, berries, and foliage. After that, you can start harvesting the root system. Sometimes the root system grows deep, so this is where you have to work especially hard. Using a shovel and an ax, you dig up and chop down the root system of the weed.
We also recommend after you have dug out all the large roots, dig up the entire area on which the weed grew. This will help remove any roots left in the ground. This is done because even these remnants can germinate over time and sprout new stems. Because of this, you will have to repeat the complete process over again.
Using chemical herbicides in weed control
The root system grows quickly and deeply. It is for this reason that weed control is so difficult. The root system is resistant to mechanical stress, and even if you dig up the entire area, after a while a vine will appear on it again. We advise you to use herbicides to cultivate the land after you have dug up all the roots. There are many products on the market, the most common is Roundup.
When using this product, remember that you need to protect yourself from its effects. To do this, you will need protective clothing, gloves, goggles, and a respirator. If nothing grows on your site, then you can use a hand sprayer and spray the entire area with herbicide. If bushes, trees, and flowers grow on the site and you are afraid that the herbicide can get on them and harm them, we advise you to pour it only in those places where you removed the root system of the weed.
It is also worth repeating this procedure several times. You need to dig up the bud and spray it with herbicide, this is the only way you will get the maximum result. If new stems appear on the territory, then you need to dig them up and treat the place with a chemical solution.
Also, after processing, it is worth covering the soil with an airtight material. You can use any material that does not allow moisture, sun, and air to pass through. We should not remove this coating for about 3 weeks. This will give excellent results too. Roots will not receive nutrients and, in combination with the herbicide, will die faster.
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What else is worth remembering
You can also use the following method to deal with the vine. Prune the vine at the base. Drill holes like a pencil in these places. Put the herbicide solution into the syringe and inject it into the root system. This method is effective, but only if you have only a few new branches of the vine. If the vine has braided the entire fence, then it will be very difficult and long to make such an injection into the root system.
Also, do not forget to remove any fallen berries. By the spring they will sprout new stems and you will have to repeat the weed harvesting process. It’s also worth getting your neighbors involved in weed control because the underground root system can crawl far from your site.
Virginia Creeper can be the perfect decoration for your hedge or front of the house, but only if you take proper care of it. It is growth control that is used as an alternative method of weed control. And before planting such an ornamental plant, it is worth weighing the pros and cons. This way you can significantly save your time in the future when you start the laborious process of dealing with fast-growing vines.