The back of our house, south side has many mature trees which go across our...

Asked June 30, 2013, 6:27 PM EDT

The back of our house, south side has many mature trees which go across our entire back yard as privacy from the neighbor in back. There are large vines growing on most of the trees, pulling the limbs and killing the large tree limbs. We tried to cut back the vines, but they are massive, so we had difficulty removing all of them. What should be done to save the trees? 3- Photos are attached. Thank you.

Baltimore County Maryland trees and shrubs weeds invasive

1 Response

It looks like the vine in your trees is Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). This is a very invasive and extremely aggressive vine that strangles trees. It becomes very woody as is seen in your photo. In the fall it produces beautiful orange berries which people find very ornamental but these berries aid in the spread of this very invasive vine. So if you pull it out at that time it should be bagged and disposed. Birds love to eat these fruits which spreads the vine even further.
From your picture it looks like you severed the vine. The top portion of the vine will die but is very difficult to remove. These pieces can be removed in sections if they are easily reached or just left in the trees if they are inaccessible. Untangle and pull out any thinner vines you encounter.
In the future, the root portion of the severed vine can be treated with an herbicide, Systemic herbicides, such as glyphosate or triclopyr, are taken down into the roots and kill the entire plant. When using glyphosate or triclopyr, cut the stem above the ground level leaving a stub. Treat that portion immediately with the concentrate of the herbicide. Some herbicides labeled as a brush killer will have instructions for 'stump' killing on their label. You can also dig out the roots. The roots of oriental bittersweet have an orange coloration.