Woody Vines Edward Frank
 Dec. 14, 2007 

TOPIC: Woody Vines

== 1 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 16 2007 7:20 am
From: "Edward Frank"


Woody vines are generally considered to be a plant that contains woody material but does not stand upright on its own, They tend to climb on the branches and trunks of other plants. There are many of them in the Northeast and Eastern Untied States. Prominent in the woods around PA are Grape Vines, Virginia Creeper,a and Poison Ivy. ENTS periodically measure the girth of some of these. Jess Riddle has reported Grape Vines with girths of 4 feet in the southern US. 

Epworth4_9cbh.jpg (129326 bytes)

Epworth-by-the-Sea, St. Simons Island, GA , a 4'9" cbh grape vine growing on a live oak. - photo by Jess Riddle

Virginia Creeper


How should these be measured? In general their girth can be measured at almost any point. It should be at least 4.5 feet from the rooted end of the vine, and the obvious thickening at branching points should also be avoided. There is very little data on Grape (Vitu sp.) and other vine species. The are significant as secondary species in many of our woods. They can a a major component in may area, as most of you know who have ever tried to work their way through a grape thicket. I wanted to add this comment concerning the measurement of the woody vines to the general ENT's dialogue.

Ed Frank

== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 16 2007 7:31 am
From: "Will Blozan"


When possible I try to find the origin of the vine in the ground and measure
4.5 feet up from there. The "tallest" species I have encountered are
Virginia creeper and Dutchman's pipe, both over 120'. I recorded VA creeper
at 130.5 feet in one of the Tsuga Search trees I climbed.


== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 16 2007 3:13 pm
From: James Parton

Will & Ed,

Another woody vine common in the eastern Appalachians is the native
Celastrus scandens and the non-native Celastrus orbiculatus, both are
known as Bittersweet. I have uploaded two pictures of Bittersweet to
the file page. Also there is Kudzu, but is it classed as a woody vine?

Bittersweet_Berries2.jpg (56054 bytes)

Bittersweet Berries

Bittersweet_Maple_Shope Creeka.jpg (80569 bytes)

Bittersweet on a maple tree, Shope Creek, NC

James Parton.

== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 16 2007 5:51 pm
From: Kirk Johnson

I worked for one summer at Rock Creek National Park in Washington, D.C. on
their non-native invasive plant control program several years ago. We dealt
with a lot of Asiatic bittersweet, as well as Asiatic porcelainberry
(Ampelopsis brevipedunculata).

Rock Creek NP has a huge problem with invasives in general, but these two in
particular were probably the worst culprits in the park in terms of threats
to native vegetation. They grow up into the canopy and completely shade out
entire stands of native trees. I saw some very large-stemmed examples of
both plants while I was there. I still have a block of bittersweet vine from
that summer that I use as a door-stop.

Kudzu was also present in the park, but a relatively marginal problem
comparatively speaking. Yes, kudzu is considered to be a woody vine.

Kirk Johnson

TOPIC: Woody Vines

== 1 of 2 ==
Date: Mon, Dec 17 2007 4:05 pm
From: Carolyn Summers

I think kudzu is classed as an alien from Mars.
Carolyn Summers

== 2 of 2 ==
Date: Tues, Dec 18 2007 3:23 am
From: "Mike Leonard"


In my neck of the woods Oriental bittersweet (followed by multiflora
rose, Japanese barberry, Japanese knotweed, buckthorn, and honeysuckle)
is also the worst non-native alien plant.
Bittersweet is such a fast growing vine and winds around young trees,
choking them, or spreading over vegetation, smothering it. I saw one
poor 10 inch oak tree yanked backwards and thought of Dr. Shigo when he
asked "Does a tree hurt too?" I've also seen bittersweet that grow up
into a forest canopy enveloping a stand.
Once established, bittersweet is extremely difficult to eliminate but
mowing, cutting, or hand pulling may help. What I wonder about this
advice is that if you don't get all of the roots when you pull up the
young vines, it will send out many new shoots of vines.
Due to extensive below ground runners that sprout prolifically,
herbicide treatments (glyphosate - Roundup) applied to cut stems at the
time of the first killing frost (early Oct.) are often necessary to
achieve control. But if you have bittersweet carpeting the understory
it's almost impossible to do it that way. How about just drenching the
whole understory with Roundup? But that costs too much money. How about
prescribed burning? That would damage the residual stand. And if you
spend a lot of money controlling it but the abutter doesn't then you may
be wasting your time.
My idea is to cut the big vines and spray the cut stems with Roundup to
keep it out of the tree crowns and revisit the stands every 5 years to
keep a lot of it off the developing tree regeneration in the understory
since total eradication in a stand already heavily infested is too

How did you control it Kirk?


TOPIC: Woody Vines

== 1 of 3 ==
Date: Tues, Dec 18 2007 10:05 am
From: Kirk Johnson


The way we controlled bittersweet and porcelainberry vines when I was
working there (1999) was to use a backpack sprayer and apply Garlon 3a,
Roundup, and in close proximity to streams Rodeo, to the foliage of the
vines and allow them to die. For large-stemmed vines that had grown high
into the canopy we applied Garlon4 as a basal bark treatment from ground
level up to about a foot above ground level.

Once the vines died, we came back later and cut out as much of the dead
material as possible to remove the eyesore, and avoid giving possible new
growth a "ladder" to climb back into the native vegetation later on, to the
degree that it was possible to do that. Another way to help do that is
remove lower hanging limbs of the trees you are trying to save if any are

I don't think we ever cut the vine first, then applied a brush-killer
herbicide to the cut stump. I don't know that there would be anything wrong
with doing it that way necessarily.


== 2 of 3 ==
Date: Tues, Dec 18 2007 1:13 pm
From: Larry

Ed, The Deep South is loaded with huge vines, especially the swamps.
The largest I recall are about 3-4" Dia. The next time I get in the
Pascagoula Basin, I'll measure and photograph some. Larry

== 3 of 3 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 19 2007 2:16 am
From: "Mike Leonard"

Thanks Kirk,

I just might try it that way.
Did you ever go back to the sites you treated say a year later to see if
much or any of the bittersweet came back?
What would you estimate the cost per acre would be to treat a stand
heavily infested with bittersweet?


TOPIC: FW: [ENTS] Re: Woody Vines

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 5:16 am
From: "Mike Leonard"

Thanks for the link Kirk.

Reading the report I found:

1. As is usually the case the heaviest infestations were along the
drainages and lighter in the drier uplands.

2. It may make sense to cut the big vines with loppers or hand saws and
then spray the understory. However the report says that spraying without
cutting is probably much more cost effective. It says that Garlon
(triclopyr) works better than Roundup for bittersweet but mixing the two
may be better for a range of invasives because Roundup works better for
honeysuckle and multiflora rose, etc.

3. It says the most effective method was to spray twice in one growing
season 4-8 weeks apart which assured that resprouting in subsequent
years was minimal.
It suggests that annual treatments for at least 3 years is essential for
heavily infested areas. Finally the treated areas will have to be
maintained to prevent the recolonization of these areas.

4.Treatment costs ranged from $235/acre to $464/acre. I think I could
get the costs under $200/acre by using loppers to only cut the big vines
and using a backpack sprayer for everything else. It depends how much
herbicide is needed. In the Forestry Suppliers catalogue a 2 1/2 gallon
jug of Garlon 4 costs $300 and a 2 1/2 gallon jug of Roundup costs $158.

I'm going to try spraying about 5 acres of this lot with Garlon that has
been heavily infested with bittersweet next spring. I have a logging
crew on the lot right now so they are crushing down most of it and when
it all resprouts I can treat it in late spring and perhaps again later
in the summer.
I wouldn't mind making it part of my consulting business but the problem
is that very, very few landowners are willing to pay to control
invasives. And even if you do control it, the lots have to be
periodically checked and treated again making it an ongoing cost for
There was an article in the Worcester Telegram earlier in the year about
invasives and this state wildlife biologist said that the state should
force landowners to get rid of their invasive plants! Of course he
didn't say how poor landowners could afford this. I say that the state
could set a better example by controlling them on our public lands. In
the 55,000 acre Quabbin watershed forest, they are not allowed to use
any herbicides so the invasives are becoming a bigger problem. After
every harvest they do regeneration surveys but if invasives spread into
harvested areas and they are not controlling them, then I would think
that would be a good argument to stop harvesting until you have an
invasive control plan in place.


TOPIC: FW: [ENTS] Re: Woody Vines

== 1 of 2 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 23 2007 12:15 pm
From: Ren

The common practice to spray herbicides like Roundup in our forests is
pretty dangerous both for the environment
as well as for the folks visiting that forest. Roundup is supposed to
have a 1/2 life of 10-14 days when exposed to
UV but the truth is that if part of the application is not exposed to
UV and runs off, get's covered, soaks into logs,
leaves and soil can kill not just the invasives but a whole range of
plants and wildlife for months if not years. Selective
minimal sprays of Roundup work pretty well but the reality is that
with in the field mechanical applications, huge quantities are
sprayed to "wet" down the site to assure the kill. Site contamination
is assured and the Forest is damaged by the very
people trying to save our native trees. See this link to a pesticide
and Herbicide Chemical effects database:
As a native tree propagator and grower with over 600 acres under
management and planting thousands of trees a year
we have seen the effects of Roundup for years. We went sustainable and
organic and found that the greatest cause
of invasives is clearcuts, construction development and agriculture
opening up large areas of field and forest soil to invasive seeds
quickly dominate as in their genetic habit.In selective cuts this
rarely happens. If we choose to continue to clearcut
we need to change our postcut practices from windrowing the brush and/
or burning to chipping methods, replanting with
grasses which can then out compete the invasives. At that point with
the soil covered with thick grass you can no-till
replant the forest without disturbing the soil and causing the
invasive friendly environment. Roundup and other
chemicals are not the answer. Good sustainable management practices is
the key to controlling invasives and having a healthy

== 2 of 2 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 23 2007 10:08 pm
From: Beth Koebel


i like your idea. It is similar to what I'm doing on
1-1/2 to 2 acres of my father's ground. This is
bottom ground that was tilled until the creek moved
two years ago. My nephew has planted the area in red
clover for a deer food plot as he is an avid deer
hunter. Once the area is covered in clover I plan to
go in and plant moisture loving hardwoods. I was
thinking about 300 to 400 per acre. Does anyone have
any idea if this is a good number as I know very
little about this area of forestry.


TOPIC: FW: [ENTS] Re: Woody Vines

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Mon, Jan 7 2008 7:00 am
From: Kirk Johnson

I agree with the below concerns about herbicide applications. In the case of
Rock Creek National Park, they first tried methods of controlling invasive
plants through a variety of manual methods for years, but it was always an
uphill losing battle.