Removing Invasive Vines

Removing Invasive Vines

April was invasive plant, pest, and disease awareness month and a great time to remove invasives on your property. As part of our annual Crum Creek Clean-Up on April 29, volunteers continued our ongoing efforts to remove and control invasives in the Crum Woods.  Many large trees were liberated from the strangling vines of English ivy, naturalized wisteria, and Oriental bittersweet.  Home gardeners should attempt to remove these aggressive plants from their properties as well.

The large severed woody stem of the aggressive oriental bittersweet had a strangled hold on this tree. photo credit: R. Robert

Invasive vines compete with the tree they grow on for sunlight. After encircling a towering tree to reach the sunlight, the vine branches out and shades the tree’s own foliage. In addition to competing for the same sunlight, vines add weight to the tree, causing broken and damaged limbs and trunks. These aggressive vines vigorously compete and damage our native tree canopy.

Director Claire Sawyers helping to sever invasive vines growing in the Crum Woods. photo credit: R. Robert

To remove invasive plants from your property, dig them out of the ground when possible. If the vine is too large, at least, cut it off at the base of the tree. While your tree may look rough for a year or two as the vine dies and falls out, vigor will return to your specimen with the loss of the competition.

Volunteer Jim Ortoleva saws invasive vines from trees in the Crum Woods. photo credit: R. Robert

Due to the size and age of the trees and vines in the Crum Woods, volunteers focus their efforts on cutting the two to three caliber vines at the base of the trees.

Volunteers removed 20 bags of trash from the Crum Creek. photo credit: R. Robert

In addition invasive control, 35 volunteers, staff, and students removed: 7 tires, 20 trash bags, 1 inflatable swimming pool, picnic table and parts, metal barrel, traffic barrel, pressurized wood, chicken wire, plastic ramp, sheet metal, and toilet parts. Thank you to everyone for their help!


Becky Robert
  • Andrea Stephens
    Posted at 08:46h, 09 May Reply

    Hi! How do you dispose of the vines once you’ve cut them? Thanks!

    • Mary Tipping
      Posted at 11:12h, 11 May Reply

      They are composted.

      Mary Tipping
      Scott Arboretum

  • Cindy M.
    Posted at 13:14h, 18 July Reply

    Do you treat the vine stumps with glyphosate or another powerful herbicide to prevent regrowth?

  • Tim Devaney
    Posted at 09:57h, 18 October Reply

    Yes, manually remove vines from trees. NO, do not apply glyphosate, herbicide or chemicals in the root zone, aka TPZ (Tree Protection Zone) of any tree you don’t want to risk killing. Excellent article otherwise.

    Best Regards, Stay Safe,
    Tim Devaney
    Certified Arborist #PD- 0286
    Delaware County, PA

  • James McKee
    Posted at 07:06h, 15 May Reply

    I am engaged in removing, or stemming, the growth of this type of climbing vine. Be careful when, or if, removing the upper portion of the vine from the tree. Some of the large vines on trees can be many yards long and weigh quite a bit. As stated above though, the tree loves this removal!! Thanks for the work you do as stewards of the earth! Have a great day.

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