I'd like some info on wild grape vines sprouting out all over my yard.

Do wild grape vines bear fruit? Will weed control kill the vines or keep them from growing?


Answer

There are several species of Vitis (grape) that grow wild in our area and that can overwhelm our landscapes with woody vines. The vines can block the light even to large trees and smother shrubs and low-growing plants. They use forked tendrils to secure their ascent and spread by seed that may be distributed by birds and animals. The species found in the Northeast include Vitis aestivalis (summer grape), V. labrusca (fox grape), V. riparia (riverbank grape) and V. vulpina (frost grape). The fruit are purple-black, smaller than cultivated grapes and produced in the late summer to fall. They are a food source beneficial to wildlife.
 
These plants have extensive root systems that store a lot of energy, allowing them to regrow if the vine is cut. Cut stems re-sprout quickly (if they are in shade, they will have more of a struggle to grow again). Herbicides can be used on cut vines but you will need to contact your county's cooperative extension office to find out what is licensed and effective in your location. (If you need help finding your extension office contact details, just let us know what state and county you live in at PlantInfo@NYBG.org.) Even when herbicide is employed, be prepared to make reapplications to reduce this plant.
 
The seeds come to your yard via birds and animals, so there isn't much hope of controlling new appearances entirely. Reducing the seeds (fruit) available to wildlife in your own yard will help. Then regularly pulling the vines at the first appearance is the best defense, before they develop strong roots. They have the characteristic leaf shape almost immediately as seedlings and a red stem for easy ID.
 
The roots are the real troublemakers as they re-sprout vigorously. The more that you remove at a tender age so that you don't have to use mechanical techniques on mature vines and then either cut or treat with chemicals, the better. We do not recommend the widespread use of herbicide that would be necessary to prevent all potential vines from emerging in your yard.
 
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
 
  • Last Updated Aug 05, 2022
  • Views 6
  • Answered By Leslie Coleman

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