Invading woody vine/tree

Asked March 31, 2016, 5:03 PM EDT

Hi. We have a worsening problem with a woody vine. It is extremely difficult to pull--we've even tried a "come along" ratchet to try to ratchet it out of the ground. Even when it's tiny it's hard to pull. It is fairly smooth, so hard to grasp, and has multi pronged roots that are a deep reddish orange color. It will twine around stakes and actually pull them down! It's in various places in the garden, but really a big problem in the asparagus beds. If left to its own devices, it will grow into a stalky shrub kind of thing. We generally end up cutting it and very carefully applying roundup, but it keeps coming. Any help is appreciated!

Harford County Maryland

1 Response

This is Oriental Bittersweet, a non-native Invasive plant from Asia. It is one of the worst invasive vines in the U.S. and Maryland. It gets orange berries in the fall which birds spread, so you'll often see seedlings coming up under trees because the birds drop the seeds when they perch.

The roots are orange. This makes them easy to identify when pulled. They pull easily when young. When they get too big to pull, cut them down and immediately treat the fresh cut vine stump with an herbicide containing glyphosate (in Round-Up and many other products) or triclopyr. You have to kill the root, so it it resprouts, pull or retreat. (Glyphosate kills everything, so don't get it on other good plants or tree trunks.) You don't have to pull down the vine still hanging on the tree after you sever it. It will slowly decompose.

Here is a link about Oriental bittersweet from the Weeds Gone Wild website, a great source for how to handle all the worst invasive plants: