Is there an easy way to kill Catbrier (Greenbrier) ???

by Hope
Just bought an older house with mature trees and shrubbery. I’ve been digging up the tubers of the catbrier and unwinding the vines from my existing plants. I’ve read that using Roundup on the leaves can kill it but I don’t want to inhibit the growth of my plants, bushes and grass in any way. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks

  2 answers
  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on May 28, 2018

    Cut the vines fairly close to the ground. You can pull them off when they are cut. I would suggest painting the Roundup on the stump. That way it will not touch any existing plants or grasses. It may take a few tries to absorb enough to get all the way down the roots, so leave enough stump so you can trim it to get fresh stump to put it on. I did this to finally kill a really old wild grape stump, it was all but strangling and killing a house high lilac. It took me about a year on that one, most don't take that long, though. I hope this helps you!

  • Mindshift Mindshift on May 29, 2018

    There are over 300 species of this genus (Smilax) of which 20 species are found in the U.S. and Canada. Whenever I cut back any I am careful to gather all stems and dispose of them in the trash. The thorns do not degrade over time and remain sharp and painful.

    They are indeed difficult to kill with new foliage returning after being cut down or burned. Roundup or a similar herbicide is the best treatment, but I think it more effective to spray new vegetation after you have cut it back. You can use a piece of cardboard to shield nearby plants from any overspray.

    • See 1 previous
    • Mindshift Mindshift on May 29, 2018

      Unlike poison ivy, which creates toxic smoke, these briars should burn completely. However, I doubt the thorns would compost any better with the town's organic waste either, so good for you!