Virginia, you're creeping me out!
June 5, 2014 11:35 AM   Subscribe

My yard is getting overrun by Virginia Creeper. Is there any practical way to get it under control.

For those who don't know, Virginia Creeper is a vine-like plant. It's not toxic like poison ivy.

Parts of my yard are more woods than lawn. VC has been present for 40 years at the interface of woods and lawn, but in the past two or three years, it has grown out of control. It is overrunning pachysandra and other ground covers.

It can not be controlled by just pulling it out. The roots remain alive and regrow in what seems like a week. I have tried some judicious application of Extended Control Roundup that I have on hand, but it's only marginally effective. Perhaps the regular Roundup would be better.

By the way, I had a problem with English Ivy which is held in check because the deer eat it, especially in winter when it's the only thing green. But I have not seen the deer eat VC.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't want to have to defoliate my whole yard, but I'm feeling under siege.
posted by SemiSalt to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
brush killer is a mix of roundup (glycophosphate) and some additional chemicals to help kill certain plans.

However, not sure if you want to spray that indiscriminately over the creeper and other plants. You may be in the hand-pull or hand-paint-on-killer realm.
posted by k5.user at 11:46 AM on June 5, 2014

Whether or not you have the time and inclination to carefully pull out as much as you can by hand, including digging out the roots as best you are able, and then to spend the next few years aggressively weeding out any hint of regrowth, affects the answer to this question.

If you're willing to use herbicides then yeah glyphosate (Roundup) applied where it was growing out of the ground is your best bet.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:48 AM on June 5, 2014

You can put cardboard over it, then soil/compost on top of that, then divide up some of your other ground covers from where they're especially strong, and get them started in the soil/compost.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 11:56 AM on June 5, 2014

I have this issue as well. I still have this issue, still fighting this stuff. Round Up is my friend.
posted by kellyblah at 12:16 PM on June 5, 2014

You can put cardboard over it, then soil/compost on top of that, then divide up some of your other ground covers from where they're especially strong, and get them started in the soil/compost.

This can really work! But if you try this, let me recommend at least a double layer of the cardboard, because otherwise some sprouts are going to push up around the edges of the individual pieces, even with overlap. That's not such a big deal with something moderately containable, but with a major invasive plant like that, you don't want to mess around. Also don't hold back on mulching around your new plantings.
posted by redfoxtail at 1:18 PM on June 5, 2014

I've had good luck killing VC by cutting it off close to the ground and then spraying the stub or stump thoroughly with Round-Up every few days till it dies for good. Sometimes it will re-sprout; in that case, cut back the sprout and repeat the process.
Good luck.
I'm dealing with poison ivy now.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 2:20 PM on June 5, 2014

Normally you should try and pull up as many runners as you can from the extended areas; if they break, treat the breaks or cut them and treat them with concentrated herbicide. When you get back to a big mass of the foliage, when it's all by itself, spray that with a foliar herbicide, it's the most effective way to get it into the roots. The more sun, the better it works, and make sure it's not going to rain soon after, it's not crazy hot or cold or dry, and the plant will be functioning more normally and take it in better.
The cardboard trick can work if you make sure you've found all of the runners, which extend in great directions all over the place. It's really hard to find all of the runners. That's why foliar spray is so effective, it translocates where you don't see the stems.

You may consider using a concentrate mixed at up to 50% rather than pre-mixed formulations of glyphosate (roundup's active ingredient) on cut stems.
You could also go to a pesticide supply store and find triclopyr (amine) and use that 50% concentrate on the cuts, it's a more selective herbicide and can be very useful for cut-stem treatments.

Still, careful foliar use is most effective. I wish there were better ways than herbicides, but there really isn't. Hopefully you can keep some, it does go nuts but it's beautiful. We've got tons of it here and I rarely remove it.
posted by Red Loop at 6:34 PM on June 5, 2014

Thanks for all the comments. I'm not sure why the previous thread didn't show up when I made a search; the comments there were also interesting.

Incidentally, I do notice that VC seems to like sun, and doesn't go wild in deep shade. I wonder if just putting an awning over a particularly annoying patch would discourage it, even temporarily.

I'll evaluate the week killers at the hardware store in light of all the helpful advice.

Thanks, again.
posted by SemiSalt at 7:08 AM on June 7, 2014

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