Parthenocissus quinquefolia or Virginia creeper is a species of flowering vine that belongs in the grape family. This vine is most commonly found in eastern to central North America, southeast Canada, east to southern Mexico, and Guatemala.
Virginia creeper is used as an ornamental plant, and it is great to cover surfaces like masonry walls. The enticing green leaves carpet spread across the whole wall and then turned into lovely darker shades of red and purple during the fall.
Virginia creep blooms in late spring, exhibiting small and greenish-colored flowers which later develop into black-colored berries.
As enchanting these burgundy-colored berries may look, they are packed with a toxic amount of oxalic acid. However, these berries are not toxic to birds and provide them with food during the winter season.
Virginia creeper leaves, unlike poison ivy, are not irritating. They still may cause a mild rash in certain people.
If your Virginia creeper is growing out of bounds or you are worried someone may consume the toxic berries, then use these 5 super helpful tips on how to get rid of Virginia creeper.
Why Do You Need to Get Rid of Virginia Creeper?
As enticing as it may seem, Virginia creeper can be a nuisance due to its aggressive growth habit and toxic berries. Some reasons why you may need to get rid of Virginia creeper are enlisted below.
- Virginia creeper is an abounding woody vine, and it grows at a very fast pace. It can cover anything in its path, let it be walls, fences, trees, plants, shrubs, windows, poles, etc.
- Virginia creeper is very prolific with dense foliage that covers a surface entirely. So, it can smother the trees and plants by depriving them of oxygen, air, and sunlight. It affects the plants’ ability to photosynthesize, causing them to die.
- Virginia creeper grows rapidly, so a younger tree or plant might not support its weight and die under its pressure.
- This plant has been enlisted as an invasive species.
- Virginia creeper bears highly toxic berries with a very high concentration of oxalic acid.
- These berries are poisonous to humans and dogs and cause several complications if ingested.
- Virginia creeper climbs up the buildings with its disc-shaped sticky pads. It can pull out the rain gutters and loosen tiles of buildings due to its weight.
- Virginia creeper is also highly flammable and can catch fire easily.
How to Get Rid of Virginia Creeper?
Now that you know how important it can be to get rid of Virginia creepers, let us show you some helpful ways how to get rid of Virginia creepers.
It is relatively easy to control and get rid of Virginia creeper when it is young; however, if not controlled timely, it becomes a nuisance, and eradicating it becomes harder. Follow these different tips to get rid of that overgrowing Virginia creeper.
1. Dig it Out
To get rid of Virginia creeper, you need to destroy its roots, not grow. Wear gloves to avoid getting any nasty rashes. Grab a shovel and dig out the roots of Virginia creeper.
It has a very strong and extensive root network, and if any roots are left behind in the soil, they may sprout again. So, be sure to get all of them.
2. Herbicides With Glyphosate
Another method to get rid of Virginia creepers is using chemical herbicides. Buy a non-selective herbicide containing the Glyphosate chemical. Apply this herbicide at the stem and leaves of the vine until half of the foliage is treated.
An easier approach is to cut the vine first and then apply the herbicide on the cut stem stump and remaining plant body. The best time to undergo this endeavor is during the late summer or fall season.
3. Organic Herbicides
Using a chemical herbicide such as Glyphosate has drastic side effects. It can destroy the nearby plants or the host plant on which Virginia creeper is growing. Using organic materials such as vinegar, mulch, or rock salt as herbicides are advised to kill off this pesky creeper.
Mulch is an excellent and environmentally friendly way to kill Virginia creepers. Cut off your vine and cover it deep in a thick layer of mulch. Always use biodegradable material for mulch. Dead leaves, newspapers, and tree barks are excellent for biodegradable mulch.
The thick layer of mulch will deprive the vine of sunlight and air, ultimately leading to its death. However, this process is quite slow and can take several weeks.
Using vinegar to kill Virginia creeper is a tried and tested remedy by gardeners and homeowners. For this technique, prepare a solution by mixing 20% vinegar with 80% water and pouring it into a spray bottle.
Now spray this solution all over the vine and its leaves. After a few days, the leaves will start dying. Take sharp shears and cut off the dying parts.
Keep repeating this process until the whole vine has died out. This method takes some time and a lot of work, so you need to be persistent.
6. Rock Salt
Using rock salt is an effective solution to kill plants and vines though advised against. The reason is that the rock salt gets absorbed by the soil and causes salt build-up, which may take a long time to flush out.
It can kill other plants growing in the vicinity of the target vine and make the soil infertile. So, use this method only when you are not planning to use the soil for a while.
Dissolve a cup of rock salt in a gallon of water and treat the vine with this water. The leaves will start wilting and dying out. Cut the dead parts off and repeat the process as needed until the whole vine has died.
7. Boiling Water
Scalding hot water is another effective and organic way to kill a Virginia creeper. Please cut down your vine to the ground and treat it with extremely hot boiling water for this technique. Be careful and wear heat-resistant gloves and a face shield to avoid getting burned by the steam.
You might need to repeat this process a few times to ensure the vine does not grow back. Keep an eye out! Treat it with hot water again until the vine is entirely exterminated if you see it sprouting.
Controlling the Virginia Creeper
If you do not ideally wish to kill your vine but want to control its aggressive growth and avoid it from spreading all over, then you will need to prune and mow it regularly.
You can use a lawnmower to eliminate the top of the vine, spreading on the ground. Keep pruning and mowing your vine regularly to avoid it from overspreading beyond control. Any lapse in taking care of the vine may cause it to grow out of hands.
Virginia creeper can adorn your house and give it a rustic and majestic look. However, if not taken care of properly, it may grow uncontrollably, taking over the whole space.
Were you worried about your dog eating the toxic berries or Virginia creeper, or did you need to eradicate it to grow more plants? We have got just the solution! In this article, we have carefully selected some effective and tried techniques on how to get rid of Virginia creepers.
Please leave your feedback in the comments and share which method worked the best for your pesky vine!