How to remove wild grape vine from trees

Asked August 9, 2018, 2:21 PM EDT

We have wild grape vines growing up our oak trees. We have a stand of trees in one part of yard. We took them out once but they grew back more vigorously than before. We would like to know how to control this invasive vine. Thank You

Prince George's County Maryland

3 Responses

Wild grape vines are native and good for wildlife, but they are rampant growers! ('Invasive' usually means a foreign invading plant these days.) So they can be a real problem in home landscapes.

The easiest way to handle them is to cut them down at the base and IMMEDIATELY treat the freshly cut stump with an herbicide with glyphosate or triclopyr. Do not let the herbicide get on the trunks of your trees (or anything but the vine). You can use a shield of cardboard or plastic to keep the spray off your desirable plants.

You don't have to remove the vine from the tree. It will decompose in place, but it is heavy, so you may want to remove it at least as high as you can easily reach.

This is a plant with a big root system with lots of energy reserves. It will probably start sending up new shoots quickly or next spring. Spray them immediately with the herbicide. The leaves absorb more of the herbicide, so they are actually helpful in getting the herbicide to the root system. Both the herbicides are systemic, which means they will be absorbed into the system of the plant and translocated down to the root system. Spraying shoots in the fall is especially effective.

It may take a while to exhaust the energy reserves and get enough herbicide down to the roots, but just be persistent. It will happen.


Thank you for your response. Someone said if I did not want to use a herbicide I could cut the vine at shoulder height and again close to the ground. Then cover root with cardboard. The theory is that deprived of light the roots will eventually die. Do you think this will work?

It depends upon how strong the root system it. Might work. Keep an eye out for shoots popping up away from the main stumps. The cardboard may need to be weighed down by mulch. It's worth a try and you can always use herbicide later if you want to.