Last Updated on June 19, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Grapes are cultivated for several good reasons, most notably for eating, and juicing. But what about wild grapes? Grapes don’t grow on trees, but on vines, you often find these wild vines growing on trees, which can eventually kill afflicted trees.
There are 68 known species of grape vines that belong to the genus Vitis, but what are wild grape vines?
There are dozens of species of wild grape vines that can be found growing alongside fences, roadsides, river banks, and vacant urban lots.
What Are Wild Grape Vines?
Wild grape vines (Vitis spp), are technically not an invasive species since they are native to several areas, most notably the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania.
Just like cultivated grapes, wild grapes are perennial woody, deciduous plants that showcase a voracious growth habit, which is one of the reasons why some people refer to them as weeds.
Wild grape vines grow easily, and much higher and thicker than their cultivated cousins, and overtake other plant species, which is another reason they are classified as weeds.
How to Identify A Wild Grape Vine
All species of wild grape look pretty much the same, and are even edible, but are unpalatable, and some are even poisonous.
Both wild grape vines and cultivated grape vines grow large three-lobed leaves, and produce the same fruit, albeit smaller in size.
The leaves of wild grape vines feature long, pointed tips that are serrated at the edges. Wild grape vine flowers that bloom in the early summer are tiny and white, and typically grow in clusters. After the flowers bloom, they leave behind hard, green grapes.
One of the biggest reasons to get rid of wild grape vines growing on your property, is that these aggressive vines can quickly become unmanageable, and a nuisance in your yard.
Adding to this, they often grow much thicker than other favorable plants, hence can steal essential nutrients from them.
How to Kill Grape Vine Roots?
One of the easiest ways to kill grape vine roots is by digging the entire root stump out. This may sound easy, but you also have to get rid of any tendrils that are left behind, because if they remain will continue their growth underground, and re-emerge wherever they get a chance.
Non-chemical methods are the preferred way to kill grape vine roots or any other invasive plants for that matter. The most effective way to smother grapevine roots is with printed black and white newspapers along with grass, leaves or other yard clippings.
To do this, dig deep into the ground around the roots of the grape vines, wrap the wet paper around the roots, and cover with the clippings. This will deprive the roots of oxygen, and will eventually kill the plants.
Use Salt As A Natural Weed Killer
Another non-chemical method of killing grapevine roots is by pouring salt on the freshly cut stump after cutting back the roots. You can also place a bucket over the stump of the root to prevent any sunlight from reaching it. This method is effective, but takes several weeks for the roots to die.
Vinegar is a natural alternative to herbicides, and can kill grape wine roots as well. Mix around two cups of vinegar with a gallon of boiling water, and pour the solution over the grapevine roots. Let it rest for a few days, and repeat the process if necessary.
Will Bleach Kill Vines?
You can use a bleach and detergent solution to kill vines. This household remedy is a popular alternative to dangerous chemicals, and is easy to apply.
Fill a garden sprayer with household bleach, and add just two to three drops of liquid detergent to the bottle. Secure the cap tight, and shake well so that the bleach and detergent mix well.
Next, cover your favorable plants located around the vines, as this solution will kill desirable trees too. After you’ve done that, hold the spray bottle roughly two to three inches away from the vines, and spray generously over the vines.
The bleach will kill the vines, and the detergent will help the bleach cling to the vines. Repeat this process in a few days if necessary.
Can I Use Roundup to Kill Wild Grape Vines?
Roundup is a glyphosate herbicide brush killer that can kill wild grape vines if applied correctly. This means that you have to spray it in the right quantity on the leaves, and in the spring growing season.
When applied, Roundup will stunt the growth of leaves and young grapevine shoots, gradually killing the vines due to short functional leaf area.
Roundup will not kill wild grape vines if applied in late spring or midsummer, as it won’t reach the stump of the vines to kill them. To make the solution, mix 20 percent Roundup concentrate with 80 percent water, and spray over the leaves of the vines.
Remove The Wild Grape Vines Manually
You can remove wild grape vines by using a little elbow grease by cutting them with a pruning saw, roughly four to five feet above the ground. But before you do so, make sure you put on a good pair of gloves, as wild grapevines may sometimes cause skin irritation.
If the grape vines are stuck to trees, don’t try pulling them as you may injure yourself or the trees.
The recommended way of cutting wild grape vines is with a hand saw, and not a chainsaw, as the vines are too small and unstable.
The thinner sections can be cut using pruning shears or lopping shears.
Cut all the grapevines you see just above the ground, and then pull out as much root as you can with a digging tool or shovel.
You will probably not be able to dig out all of the roots, because of the extensive root systems, but try to get out as much as you can.
After you pull the roots out, immediately treat with a natural herbicide, or a commercial herbicide carefully, which should kill what’s left of the buried root system.
Final Thoughts on How to Eradicate Wild Grape Vines
Killing wild grape vines does take a fair bit of effort and patience. You can apply any of the aforementioned control methods, but you will have to pull up the roots that have anchored into the ground, and then apply some type of natural or chemical herbicide.