Can you identify this vine and offer ideas on eradication?

Asked April 6, 2019, 11:11 AM EDT

This nasty vine has killer rose-worthy thorns, grows rapidly and spreads by sending out runners under the ground. We live on Dividing Creek, and it's mostly clustered in the property near the water. As step 1, it seemed like it couldn't hurt to cut it down closer to the ground. Previously, I've successfully dug it out of one area, but it's a chore, tough to make sure to get it all, and it's much denser as we get closer to the water. Any ideas on how to kill it? Hesitant to use chemical weed killer due to proximity to creek. thanks.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

5 Responses

This is greenbriar, a native vine. It's a bear to get rid of. Since it does provide benefit to wildlife (flowers, berries), if you can just leave it to grow up a tree or two, that's the easiest approach.

If you have to remove some, or part of it, you can dig it up, cut it back to weaken it and eventually exhaust the extensive root system, or spray with a systemic herbicide. Look for the ingredient glyphosate. You'd have to use a special herbicide formulated to be used by water, such as Rodeo. There are several products on the market, but since glyphosate formulations can be deadly to aquatic organisms, you must use a special formulation for use near water. You'll need a permit, which you can get over the phone at: 410-537-3651.
The shiny leaves of greenbriar require that you also add a 'sticker-spreader' to make it stick to leaves.

All in all, it's easier to let a dense stand just remain for wildlife, and concentrate on removing seedlings and preventing new plants from getting established by digging them up.


Thanks, but are you sure? I have never seen a leaf, flower or berry —ever— just ever-more-sprawling prickly thick vine. If wildlife is other than goats, I don’t know what they could be feeding themselves on. I recently cut down vines more than 15 feet long, and nothing but vine w thorns from ground up.

We are confident that this is greenbriar vine. It is difficult to control because it continues to spread by underground rhizomes and sends up new shoots. Where you want to remove it, cut the plant to the ground and dig out the rhizomes or crowns. Even if that is done, diligence at keeping fast growing sprouts cut back will be required for several years until the random bits of the rootstock are depleted. You also have the option to use a glyphosate product formulated for use near water, as noted previously. Here is additional information.


Thanks this is very helpful. Are there particular plantings we that will compete successfully? We have near unlimited supply of hosta , liriope, day lilies, tiger lilies, and iris—all of which we’ve divided into what are now hundreds of plants and are gifts that keep on giving. We also have about 40 blackberry bushes, although 25 are recent bare root plantings.

Of the plants you have listed, the lilies are probably your best bet for a choice that will compete with these. I suggest transplanting some of the lilies in an area where the greenbriar has been dug out and try it. Plant densely and continue to remove greenbriar stems as they appear. You will have to keep after the greenbriar while the other plants get established.