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How To Kill Vines On Trees? [Easy Guide]

Vines are no different than pestering bugs, which invade your decorations, walls, and especially trees for support or nutrients, but you can kill them with on-spot solutions.

Generally, vines twirl around the trunk or act as a ground cover that blocks the moisture and nutrient percolation to the tree roots. So better to kill them before they become invasive by cutting them or applying homemade or synthetic herbicides.

Continue with the article to understand the types of vines and how much threat they pose to your trees with the remedies to try.

Types of Vines on Trees

Vines growing on trees is not new, as most rainforests feature the relationship among plants to decrease the fight for light and moisture.

However, similar support is impossible indoors as the moisture and nutrients are to be given manually and feeding two plants singly is impossible.

Meanwhile, the vines may snuggle the trees and stunt their growth entirely; somewhat of a parasitic bond where the trees are affected, and the vines continue to extend.
A tree trunk covered with red to green leaves of vines.
The vines take the trees as a support system, but some feed on them to survive.

Some of the most common vines around your trees are as follows.

Vines NameInvasive USDA ZoneGrowth pattern
English Ivy4-13Cling to the trees and forms clusters around the trees base

Height- 30 feet
Boston Ivy4-8Climbing foliage and deciduous groundcover

Height- 60 feet
Japanese Honeysuckle5-8Twirl around the trunk of trees and spread in the ground with rhizomatous bulb

Height- 33 feet
Wisteria4-9Climb to trees and form clusters of blooms at the canopy

Height- 30 feet
Kudzu5-10Adept climbers that grows at a rate of 1 feet per day under optimum condition

Height- 100 feet
Clematis4-8Twining vines that takes trees as its support

Height- 12 feet
Wintercreeper4-9Climbers attach their rootlets on the tree trunk or walls while a groundcover for landscape

Height- 66 feet but usually stops after reaching maturity

How to Kill Vines Growing on Trees? 

Watching the colorful, vibrant vines cover your ground and walls can be amusing, but that might not be the case for trees, as they suffer the most.

So better to use some tricks to kill vines on trees before they kill your lovely trees or trim them off to control growth.

1. Natural Methods

The natural methods include some standard manual and home remedies to kill invasive vines on trees.

  • Prepare vine removal tools like gardening gloves for irritant species like English ivy and Poison ivy, screwdrivers, crowbars, and pruning shears.
  • Insert the screwdriver or crowbar between each vine attached to the tree bark.
  • Now, gently pull the plant out but remember to do it slowly to decrease damage to the tree bark.
  • As for the climbing vines, use pruning shears to separate the thick vines from the trees.
  • Meanwhile, pull the plant directly from the ground by grabbing its foliage or using a trowel for groundcover vines.
  • Afterward, remove any root or bulb debris from the soil to eradicate the vines.
On the other hand, use a powerful land mower for thick ground covers at least 3 to 4 times yearly.

2. Non-Toxic Methods

The non-toxic methods include cultural practices to kill the vines without harming the trees.

  • Take mulch of grass cutting, tree bark, dead leaves, or any old newspaper to cover the vines and deprive them of light and air.
  • You can also wrap the vines with a plastic sheet to block the oxygen entry and increase the temperature to naturally let the vines die after a few weeks.
  • On the other hand, use a vinegar solution prepared by mixing water and vinegar in a 4:1 ratio.
  • Pour 3-4 cups of hot boiling water into the crown root of the vines but remember to protect the trees.
  • Another recipe can be a solution prepared from household bleach mixed with 2-3 drops of liquid detergent and water.
  • Fill the spray bottle with the bleach and detergent solution and spray over the leaves and base of the vine to kill it efficiently.

3. Synthetic Methods

Use chemicals only if your vines have reached beyond your control and have invaded the tree entirely.

Strong systemic herbicides like triclopyr can kill thick vines by entering the roots through the foliage, while mild herbicides like glyphosate can kill herbaceous vines.

The herbicides show the best effect when used during the active growing season of vines.

Apply herbicides on the cut part of the vines before they heal to stop the vine growth.

However, it should be the last approach, as herbicides can kill companion plants without showing mercy.

Take precautions before applying the herbicide by covering the non-targeted plant with cardboard, plastic, or heavy fabric and using a paintbrush.

From Editorial Team

Extra Tips!

Protect your garden’s pollinators and helpful insects when applying herbicides in the early evening, as the chemicals are a threat to all around the applied area.

Dispose of the cut vines in a large plastic bag or allow them to decompose naturally in a pit after removing them from the trees.