Sick Woodbine

Asked June 23, 2020, 7:09 PM EDT

Hi Extension Folks -
I've had woodbine (Virginia creeper?) growing in various areas of my yard for decades. Last year I noticed that things weren't going so well, and a section of the vines on my large trellis died out. This year I'm noticing a lot of crinkled leaves, and yellowish spots on them. WHAT IS WRONG, AND WHAT CAN I DO TO SAVE MY WOODBINE??

Broomfield County Colorado

3 Responses


In the second and third photos, there are some yellow spots on the leaves as well as some leaf deformity. Have you seen any insects, either crawling or flying around the leaves? The grape leafhopper is one insect that may cause the leaf damage shown in your photos. In fact, “Virginia creeper can be used as a trap crop as the insects are more attracted to it over grapes” as stated in this CSU Fact Sheet:

In the first photo that shows the section that’s died, it would be helpful to know if there have been any green leaves on it this year or if it all died last year and never came back. Did you notice the same pattern of crinkled leaves and yellowish spots on the leaves before they died? Woodbine is resilient and can handle quite a bit of munching on so there could be more than one issue here.

For the leafhoppers, the CSU Fact Sheet linked above lists a variety of controls to help manage the pests. If you think there’s more going on, then please reach out to us again and we’ll be happy to help.

Hi Expert! -
The dead section of woodbine in Pic #1 happened last year, with no green leaves this year. I didn't notice any crinkling or spots, but then again I wasn't looking for them. The leafhopper link seems like it may be written for California vineyards or such, as there are no grapevines here, and I don't think I've ever seen a leafhopper in Broomfield. The damage on the leaves in their photo seems more like larger splotches, but my woodbine has small yellow spots. What now?

Hello Joel
Thank you for sending your responses to our questions. The article from Colorado State University was written for Colorado gardeners. Colorado does have grapes, although the majority is on the western slopes of Colorado, there are citizens in Broomfield that use grape vines for fruit, coverage of fences and as privacy screen.
In the article, Virginia Creeper is preferred by the leaf hopper or grape vines. The yellow spots on the leaves indicate some insect is extracting fluids and nutrients from the cells of the leaf, thus damaging and eventually killing the leaf. We will continue to research and will send additional emails with confirmation of leaf hopper or a different insect.