Identify Vine on Oak Tree

Asked July 9, 2017, 2:54 AM EDT

Can you, please, identify this very large vine that is climbing an oak tree?

How should I remove it?

Thanks for your help.

Washtenaw County Michigan

3 Responses


This is a garden ground cover that climbs vertical surfaces called wintercreeper, scientific name Euonymus fortunei. It is considered invasive in many areas.

Pull it down off the tree and clip if off. Be careful to not damage your oak's branches, roots or trunk. Dig up as much of the vine on the ground as you can. This will take repeatedly cutting/digging up this tough plant. Get as much root as you can, since it will resprout from parts left in the ground.

Remember that damage to any part of the oak at this time of year could open the tree up to oak wilt, a fatal disease. You may want to pull the vine off the tree now, clip it close to the ground, and dig the roots out later this fall ( October when it turns cold) when oak wilt won't be a concern. But, still be careful to not damage the tree's roots as much as possible.

The article, below, describes how to use a chemical to control it.

Caution! if you use chemicals be very careful not to let any spray drift onto the oak (including the trunk and root) or any other plants you want to keep. You may 'paint on' the chemical with a disposable foam paint brush for better precision but watch out where it drips. Fresh light green growth on wintercreeper will absorb more chemical than tough, older dark green growth.

If you can't find the recommended strength of chemical, use the strongest one available to you. 'Brush killer' type glyphosate or triclopyr chemicals will be stronger than the basic ones. Let the chemical work for at least 5 days or more before cutting that part of the plant off, as it takes time for the chemical to move into the roots. Follow all label precautions and directions.

Thank you for using Ask an Expert.


Thanks Laura for a quick and comprehensive response.

You are very welcome, good luck with your project!