Asked on Dec 30, 2011

Thorny vine things overrunning the yard- Help!

Melissa B
by Melissa B
We just bought our first home and are on a STRICT budget. I would like to dress up the yard that is completely overgrown. WHAT are these huge thorny vines that have taken over?? How do I get rid of them? They are grown all into the crepe myrtles and they hurt! We have ripped up several pairs of gloves trying to clip them back. We have literally lost 15 feet of yard around the whole perimeter to this yucky stuff.
  21 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Dec 30, 2011
    Can you post a picture of the vine?
  • Melissa B Melissa B on Dec 30, 2011
    I will take one today and post yes. It is as thick as your thumb in some parts and the thorns are huge.
  • Paul M Paul M on Dec 30, 2011
    Sounds like cats briar to me. There are two ways to get rid of them. One is to cut them back and then paint undiluted round up on the cut near the ground. However they probably will grow back and have to be retreated several times because of the huge rhizome they create underground. The second method is to cut them back to the rhizome and then dig that big bugger up. This method works every time but it is time consuming and takes a good bit of effort as well. The round up method will be less strenuous but cost you more money, The dig method won't cost much but will take a lot of effort. Which one is right for you?
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Dec 30, 2011
    Good advice for any invasive weed Paul, well done. :)
  • Melissa B Melissa B on Dec 30, 2011
    I am willing to dig if that will be the end. I look like a cutter since my arms are scratched so thoroughly all up and down even though I had long sleeves on. I have small kids and 2 small dogs and my poor male dog already got caught up in these once. Pics forthcoming!
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Dec 31, 2011
    Paul's cut-and-paint strategy is one I once used with a large stand of sumac, where it was very successful. I have also tried it with blackberry brambles with less success, I think because the vines were not thick enough to get much of a concentration of the Roundup.
  • Paul M Paul M on Dec 31, 2011
    If it is cats briar then it has a thick woody type of stem and the round up should work well with that. If it is something like a blackberry, that Douglas is talking about, then it may not work as well because the stems and hollow and won't move the chemical to the roots as well as a woody stemmed plant will. I guess you need to identify what the plant is or at least what type of density of material you are dealing with and that will help to determine what course of action you need to pursue.
  • Kit K Kit K on Dec 31, 2011
    I had a blakberry briar I got rid of by continually cutting the canes off at ground level. I figured because the plants could not perform photosynthesis the root systems died. It can be a bit time consumming, but I have found it to be an effective method of being rid of invasive plants.
  • Melissa B Melissa B on Dec 31, 2011
    The evil thorny vines pic requested
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jan 01, 2012
    That's cat briar.
  • Melissa B Melissa B on Jan 01, 2012
    Bummer....Okay well we are going to work on this tomorrow since we both have the day off and I will let you all know.
  • Mike and Anne Mike and Anne on Jan 01, 2012
    Anne thought it was smilax. It is a vine that has become invasive in our area of NC. Cutting it back to about 2 feet from the ground and spraying the base with Round-up helped me control it in my yard. I found it was easier to cut the vine at the base, allow the top to turn brown and then pull it out of the trees and shrubs. Strong leather work gloves give me more protection for my hands than most garden gloves.
  • Melissa B Melissa B on Jan 01, 2012
    Of course it is raining now that we have it in our mind that this was the time we were going to get rid of this evil thorn.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jan 02, 2012
    It will still be there when it stops raining. :-)
  • Melissa B Melissa B on Feb 07, 2012
    IT's DYING!!! YAAAAY! Cutting it back and using the painting of the Round Up are working! doin the happy dance! I cannot wait to put up "after" pics.
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Feb 07, 2012
    yahhhy, I love a happy ending.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Feb 07, 2012
    Great news, Melissa!
  • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Mar 08, 2015
    There is a herbicide that is used on blackberry brambles that might be a better fit for this cat briar. However, I can't recall the name...starts with a 'D', I think. Ask at your nursery what is used to get rid of brambles/vines.
  • David B David B on Mar 08, 2015
    Fighting off an outbreak again this year. How timely is your post Miss Bonnie!
    • Bonny McDaniel Bonny McDaniel on Mar 09, 2015
      @David B I'm not sure you are referring to blackberry brambles or not but the following indicates that you would have to use a herbicide in the Fall: Round-up, and other similar glyphosate herbicides, work effectively on blackberry plants only if applied in the fall. That is the only time the plant diverts its food reserves down to its roots rather than up to its leaves and shoots. The herbicide moves in the plant with the food. I'm still searching for that other herbicide name...just Google info on eradicating whatever vine or bramble you are trying to get rid of. Our problem was the Chinese Sumac aka Tree of, also, has to be eradicated in the Fall or the very early Spring.
  • Sherry Sherry on Jul 18, 2015
    I have a question for all you knowledgeable folks. I have a different thorny vine here in North Texas that apparently is a rhizome variety. It is threatening to take over my entire yard. If I use the cut back/paint roundup method, how much damage will that do to other plants in the same area of the yard. Will it kill grass as well?
  • Ed Ed on Oct 20, 2018

    I have been applying a concentrated vegetation killer to a large area infested with similax. Numerous applications later, it is still coming back. Someone told me that you can soak the entire area's soil with straight bleach which will fry the root system. I do not have any "friendly" vegetation in the affected area to be concerned with. Does anyone have any experience with this method?