Monday, April 2, 2018

Those Nasty Vines!

Horticulture Hotline 04/02/18
  Bill Lamson-Scribner

My name is Bill, and I get vines.

I seem to get vines from air attack (bird droppings) and infantry attack (crawling over from next door). Right now, the vines have the soft new growth that is easiest to kill. The infantry attack is mainly Asiatic Jasmine, English Ivy, and Algerian Ivy. My counter attack has to be swift and effective because once these vine’s leaves harden off they are very difficult to control (these vines seem to laugh at my vine killing weapons)!

The air attack vines are tricky! Smilax, pepper vine, and Virginia Creeper are usually my main enemies. As you pull them, they are designed to break apart.  One common mistake I see when driving around neighborhood is people pulling vines over the top of bushes.  It is very satisfying to pull the vines from the top, but if you really want to get rid of them, you have to get on your hands and knees and find where the vine is coming out of the ground and treat it at the base.   The best thing to do is to go to the base of the plant and pull the vine down through the plant.  If there is room beside the shrub that has the vine in it, do the following:

  1. Pile the vine next to the plant.  If this is a turf area, lay a plastic leak proof tarp down first.
  2. Spray the vine with a combination of Eraser (Gly), Brush Master, Possum’s 80/20 Sticker (help “stick” product to vine), and Possum’s Blue Alert SS Dye (so you can tell where you have treated).  These are systemic herbicides that will move through the plant and kill it at the root level so you will not have the re-growth.
  3. If the vine breaks off and you don’t have any leaves to spray the herbicide on, you can apply an herbicide to the fresh green wound where the vine broke off.  Treat the end that is going back into the ground.  If you just have a stem coming out of the ground some people will soak a paper towel with herbicide and wrap it around the bare stem.  Be sure to contact the green area where the stem broke off. 
  4. Always Read, Follow and Understand the product label and wear proper safety equipment.

Weed control in turf is also a hot topic right now because the grass is in transition from dormancy to actively growing. Read the label of the product you want to use and make sure it is Ok on your type of grass during green up. Our most popular weed control products Weed Free Zone and Speed Zone Southern are fine to spray on grass (centipede, zoysia, or Bermuda) except St. Augustine grass during transition. Other products have no restrictions or different restrictions, so read and follow product label. Hopefully, if you have been following a good preemerge program, you can simply spot spray a few weeds instead of going over the whole lawn.

Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mt. Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at You can also call in your questions to “The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1:00, on 1250 WTMA  (The Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at