Get rid of Virginia creeper plants easily and simply by using the fail-proof ways given below such as digging them out and pruning. Some people prefer growing this vine as an ornamental plant but for many of us, it can be a complete nuisance.

Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of ways you can rid your garden of this aggressively growing invasive vine.

How To Get Rid of Virginia Creeper?

Digging them out, using herbicides, and regular pruning and mowing are several tried and tested methods for getting rid of Virginia creeper.

Killing Virginia creeper is easy enough when the vine is still young, as you can literally pull it off by hand. After a season or two, it begins covering the host surface so thickly that it becomes a real headache to remove it.

Continue reading to find out a number of ways to kill this vine.

– Digging Out by Hand

Always remember to wear protective gloves before pulling Virginia creeper vines out by hand. You don’t want to develop a nasty rash in the process. Springtime is the ideal season to carry out such an endeavor. 

For already established vines, you will need to use a shovel to dig out the extensive root system of this plant. Any root ends remaining in the ground will lead to sprouting of new vines again.

– Organically

Virginia creeper removal by organic methods has the advantage that it prevents the host plants from dying along with the vine. You can use white vinegar, mulch or rock salt to organically kill this pesky creeper.

– Glyphosate Herbicide 

Buy a good quality non-selective herbicide that contains the chemical glyphosate. Apply it to the vine and its leaves until at least half the leaves have been treated by it. Alternatively, you can cut the vine close to the ground and then apply glyphosate near the cut stem stump. The best time to apply herbicide to kill Virginia creepers is during late summer and fall.

– Regular Pruning and Mowing

This method will not get rid of the Virginia creeper vine entirely but will prevent it from spreading all over surfaces. Use a lawnmower to remove the top part of the vine off the ground, or you can also use gardening shears to regularly prune these vines as soon as visible shoots emerge from the ground.

This process will need to be repeated at regular intervals and any lapse in care will lead to sprouting back of the vine again.

What Kills Virginia Creeper

An unfortunate effect of using herbicides such as glyphosate is that it can also kill the host trees and shrubs that are enclosed by the vine. A better method of Virginia creeper control by yourself is to use organic means to kill this seemingly uncontrollable vine. In this section, we will be discussing what materials you can use to naturally kill a Virginia creeper.

– Mulch

Using mulch is a great way to kill the Virginia creeper vine. All you have to do is to cut off the entire top part of the vine and cover it with a thick layer of mulch. You should always use biodegradable materials for mulching; our personal favorites are bark, newspapers and dead leaves. 

This method will deprive the vine of both sunlight and air, leading to its ultimate death. You might have to wait several weeks for this method to take effect.

– Vinegar

Killing Virginia creeper with vinegar is a time-tested natural remedy popular among garden keepers and homeowners. Mix 20 percent white vinegar with 80 percent water and spray your vine with this mixture. After three days, remove all the leaves and stem parts that have died as a result. Repeat this process until the entire vine dies down eventually.

– Rock Salt 

Use rock salt to kill Virginia creeper only when you don’t plan on growing anything in your garden for a while. This is because rock salt is absorbed into the soil and takes a long time to flush out. It also kills other plants in the vicinity. 

Add one cup of rock salt to one gallon of water and pour it on the ground from where the creeper emerges. Wait a few days and then remove all the dead leaves. Repeat this process until the whole vine dies down.

Virginia Creeper: What Is It?

Virginia creeper, or Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is a woody creeping member of the grape family. Found throughout Northern America, this plant is notorious not only for growing naturally on vertical surfaces but for also being grown deliberately as a houseplant by some people.

The leaves of Virginia creeper plants are made up of five leaflets, with each leaflet being approximately 2 to 6 inches long. These leaves are tinted red when they start to grow but turn green as they mature.

In the fall, the Virginia creeper’s leaves assume a classic red tint that makes them sought after as house vines because they make walls, roofs, and other surfaces look beautiful under the canopy of their reddish hues. 

Why This Plant Can Be a Real Nuisance

The Virginia creeper plant can be a real nuisance when it starts growing by itself as a weed on vertical surfaces such as rooftops and trees. Here are some of our top reasons why you should be wary of this plant around your house and garden.

– It Will Grow Everywhere and on Anything 

This plant will grow on literally anything! Trees, walls, rooftops, you name it. It seems as if all vertical surfaces are its favorite spots. 

On the other hand, it will also spread horizontally on the ground if no vertical structure is available for it to climb on. The invasive Virginia creeper plant will grow both in the shade and under direct sunlight. It can also tolerate a variety of soil types.

– It Grows and Spreads Very Fast 

This plant grows and spreads at an alarming rate. It also jumps from tree to tree and is known to enclose a fully grown tree in just a couple of years. After enclosing its target tree or shrubs, it then strangles them by covering them with its dense foliage.

The leaves of this vine also cut off sunlight to the host plant, eventually leading to its death.

– It Is Flammable and Can Destroy Property

When the Virginia creeper grows on houses and buildings, it eventually pulls tiles and rain gutters off the walls and roofs because of its weight. This vine is also highly flammable and prone to catching on fire, destroying any surface that it is clinging to in the process.

– It Causes Skin Irritation

The leaves of the Virginia creeper plant produce sap that causes skin irritation when you come in contact with it due to the presence of Calcium oxalate crystals. It also takes a lot of time to get rid of Virginia creeper rash, and you might need anti-rash medications for a while.

– Its Fruit Is Toxic to Humans

Tiny blue-black berries are produced by the Virginia creeper vines in the late summer to fall season. These are toxic when consumed by humans and should especially be kept away from children.

Consuming these berries can cause nausea, vomiting, rash, bloody diarrhea, twitching, headache and even a weak pulse. In some extreme cases, death has been reported as well.

 

Some Useful Information

Here are some of your most frequently asked questions regarding the Virginia creeper vine.

– Are the Roots of the Virginia Creeper Plant Invasive?

Because it is native to North America, the Virginia creeper cannot be classified as an invasive plant in that particular region of the world. It is, however, classified as an invasive species everywhere else due to its destructive and rapid growth pattern.

– How To Differentiate Between Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy?

Many people tend to confuse these two vines owing to their many similarities. The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at their leaves.

A poison ivy leaf will have three leaflets, whereas the leaves of a Virginia creeper vine have five leaflets each.

Conclusion

Getting rid of Virginia creeper might seem troublesome at first, but with our tips and tricks at your disposal, there is no reason why you wouldn’t succeed. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • The Virginia Creeper plant is notorious for growing unimpeded on any vertical or horizontal surface that it might encounter.
  • It is very easy to get rid of a Virginia creeper when it is young. Simply pull its roots out by hand or a shovel.
  • You can also kill this vine organically using white vinegar, mulch or rock salt.
  • A glyphosate herbicide will also kill a Virginia creeper. Apply the chemical to the stem and at least half of the leaves. Alternatively, cut off the entire vine and apply this herbicide to the cut stump.
  • You can also get rid of a Virginia creeper temporarily by regularly cutting off its vines or mowing over the growth.
  • Cutting off the top part of the vine and covering it with mulch will also kill it.
  • Another method is to spray it with a mixture containing 20 percent white vinegar and 80 percent water.
  • Using rock salt will also kill this vine, but you will not be able to grow anything in your garden for a while afterward.

Now that you know some sure-shot ways of getting rid of the Virginia creeper, it’s time to stop worrying and get to work.

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