Safe to Use Herbicide to Kill Vines Climbing a Tree

edlincoln(6A)August 20, 2014

The various vines seem to be working together. A big, mature Norway Spruce (I think) has English Ivy and Virginia Creeper climbing it. It is surrounded by a moat of poison ivy so I can't get to it.

Would it be safe to use weed killer to kill the poison ivy?

Which is more likely to kill the tree...spraying weed killer on neighboring plants, or letting the English Ivy grow unimpeded?

Also, could I just throw a tarp on the poison ivy to smother it, and walk over the tarp to get to the tree? Or would that suffocate the tree's roots?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


see link.. very expensive applicator ...

empty and fill with non-diluted round up.. or generic ... usually the label says 41% ....

cut vines at the ground.. and drip onto all cuts ...

leave hanging stuff.. hanging in the tree.. until it dries and the leaves fall off ... and then try to pull it out ... you will do a lot less damage to the good plant.. if you wait ... you might even leave it until spring ... actually.. once the leaves die off.. 90% of it.. you wont even see ...

then continue to cut all sprouts.. for as long as it takes to kill the root mass ... it might take a year or two ... depending on how huge the root mass is ...

again... ITS NOT A SPRAY THING... its all about the application of the product ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 10:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Ken - you like to post that mustard bottle link every time you have an soon as I saw the thread title, I knew!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Please explain how this works on a large, established patch of poison ivy? Something where it isn't obvious where to cut, and nobody is going to go wading in to find out.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ed ... Do what you need to do to get to the vines on the tree. It's a long project, but much of it is waiting for things to die.

The problem is that even the dead poison ivy is toxic to people sensitive to it. Wear protection for all stages.

One line of attack would be to use glyphosate (Walmart's Eliminator house brand is a good one) and thoroughly spray the poison ivy with their recommended mix for poison ivy. Add a bit of dishwashing soap (1/4 teaspoon per gallon) to increase penetration.

When the ivy starts wilting, weed-whack it at ground level and carefully bag and dispose of the vines. Keep spraying shoots and removing dead sprouts until it gives up.

A layer of cardboard and thick mulch may help ...

For the Ivy in the tree ...

Check to make sure it's all English and not some poison!

Cut the vines a couple of feet off the ground.

1 - Immediately dab glyphosate on the cut ends to start killing the roots. (use a foam paint brush.

2 - Watch the vine for a couple of days ... when it has wilted, but is still limber, you can usually pull the strands out of the tree. Be careful, because all kinds of bugs and crap comes down with it.

Pull out as much as you can, and if you can safely get to the upper stuff, pull it out too.

3 - Keep spraying shoots and removing dead sprouts until it gives up.

Every spring, patrol your yard and kill any poison ivy and english ivy sprouts you see . It's spread by birds.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tenacre(Z5 SW MI)

I waged a 7-year war with poison ivy and finally declared victory 6 years ago when I could no longer find any trace of it in a 6-acre wooded area laced with walking trails. During that war, I often was faced with situations similar to yours, and I sprayed the poison ivy with glyphosate. I tried my best to avoid any tree foliage, exposed roots, immature bark, or bark with open wounds. In the winter I would venture out and cut any accessible poison ivy vines with bypass loppers. I'd come back in the spring and summer and spray any new ivy growth. I'm not saying this is the best, or even "correct", way to do it, but I never got a rash, the ivy is completely gone, and there was never any observable distress to the trees. Supposedly, glyphosate breaks down very rapidly in the soil, unlike dicambra, 2-4-D, and mecoprop, which AIUI remain in the soil much longer.

I noticed an unexpected and surprising thing during this effort. It got to the point where I could see poison ivy even out of the corner of my eye when I wasn't even particularly looking for it. I'd be walking briskly on one of the trails and suddenly pull myself up short, turn to the side, and sure enough, hidden among the other brush were a few ivy leaves poking up. It was rather amusing.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not even trying to get rid of the poison ivy. That is very labor intensive, and it's my parent's place...I'm not down there enough. I'm trying to get close enough to the tree to remove the English Ivy. I realize it wil grow back, but I figure it will take a few years for it to really hurt a tree this size, so if I cut it down once a year I'll be good. This particular patch of poison ivy is a moat keeping me away from the tree. Ideally I'd also like to clear away the poison ivy within 50 feet of the house. I don't really want to cut the poison ivy, and I'm not touching it.

No one commented on the idea of throwing a tarp on the poison ivy to kill this patch and create a bridge I could walk across to get to the tree.

Ken, the mustard idea is a good one. I understand mustard gas is pretty poisonous, so I'm looking on Craigslist.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tenacre(Z5 SW MI)

Is your parent's house located in an area that has winter (snowfall)?

You could wait till there's sufficient heavy snow cover and just walk up to the tree and sever the climbing vines with a bypass lopper.

Or you could wear hip waders and do it anytime. Just make sure to have someone wash down the waders before you try to take them off.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 4:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A tarp will not kill the poison ivy if it is just there for the time, I assume weeks at most, that it will take you to cut the vines from the tree. I'd think you could just cut the vines at the base of the tree in a few minutes, and let the plants wilt in place and die in the tree. If you had access to a sickle mower, you could mow a path to the tree, thereby cutting the poison ivy. You could choose to apply roundup to any cut surfaces you saw in the poison ivy, do your cutting at the tree and leave. It takes a while for ivy and creeper to get badly wrapped in a tree; my guess is that if you cut leading bases of the plants once a year, you will do a lot of good. Note also that you can buy cheap tyvek pants and jackets to wear while working in the ivy. Wear washable shoes, hand protection, and just wade into the mess.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I actually kind of like the snow idea. Has an elegant simplicity.

My plan had been to spray some herbicide on the leaves of the poison ivy, put a tarp on it, weigh the tarp down with bricks, walk across the tarp to cut down vines with a regular serrated saw, and leave the tarp there until Fall. Mostly trying to see if anything about this plan would hurt the tree.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
davidrt28 (zone 7)

Poison Ivy Thread #279 here at garden web...
The stuff isn't purified plutonium, folks. If you have to have contact with you it, you have at least an hour to get it off. Usually more. Unless you are hypersensitized, very few people actually are. Wear googles maybe, to be sure it doesn't get in your eyes. It _will_ wash out of clothes, though I would recommend at least warm water, preferably hot water, some kind of booster like Na2CO3, and 2 rounds to be absolutely sure it's gone.
Like other people have said, you can apply it to the distinctively hairy trunks correctly it will not kill the tree. I've experimented with various things and they usually work to one degree or another, but undiluted roundup with some dish soap as a surfactant is fine.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 7:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
blakrab Centex(8a)

Care to attach a photo of this nightmare? Climbing vines can be some of the most invasive plants. The best cure for them is prevention or early eradication..

I wouldn't throw a tarp on the poison ivy, because then the whole tarp will be contaminated. A goat would be great to chomp back the mess, but I don't know where you'd rent one?

Otherwise, you may have to just surgically cut a path to the tree, maybe wearing disposable plastic grocery bags as booties.. Poison ivy is an extremely resilient plant that must be vigilantly cut back and pulled up before it keeps growing and spreading.. Homeowners should never even let it take root and grow to a bush size to begin with!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Goats

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 7:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't really care if the tarp is contaminated...I got it for a temporary project a while back, it served it's function, it was just going to become clutter.

Oh, here it is.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 10:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
davidrt28 (zone 7)

LOL...just looking at this thread again. Wear GOGGLES not googles!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 7:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If anyone cares, I just removed the tarp, and there was no poison ivy around it.

Early fall the various plants started dying back enough that I could see the poison ivy patches well enough to avoid them, and cut down the vines climbing the tree.

The English Ivy that was mixed in appears completely unharmed.

I *DO* wish I had known I was supposed to wear goggles...when told to wear googles I purchased google goggles, and those things are expensive and not terribly useful for gardening.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Mon, Oct 27, 14 at 14:32

    Bookmark   October 26, 2014 at 4:46PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
So happy that this is the 1st spring where I don't have......
Vole damage. Burying our fences underground 6 inches...
Beautiful Trees In Bloom Around My Neighborhood.
Here is the Yoshino Cherry Tree(i think) next door....
2015 Midatlantic/SE/New England winter damage thread
I don't mean to exclude the midwest but I think for...
davidrt28 (zone 7)
Help choosing a fast-growing shade tree...
Hi there! I am a newbie when it comes to all things...
Number 4 thread of Most successful try @ LIve oak in Pa
Okay, this is the newest thread about the Live Oak...
Sponsored Products
Tiffany-style Peacock Lantern Table Lamp
Besa Lighting Jodi 2WM-673006 Bathroom Vanity Light - 2WM-673006-BR
$477.00 | Hayneedle
Turquoise Green Ceramic Jar Table Lamp
$74.91 | Lamps Plus
15732BKT Textured Black 4.5 Watts Medium Kichler LED Landscape Light
Scoop Molded Stool - Green
| Dot & Bo
Brella Bronze One-Light Halogen Wall Sconce with White Glass
$166.50 | Bellacor
Piggy Cup - Set of Two
$8.99 | zulily
Hampton Bay Track Lighting Linear Track Head Black Finish EC3490BK
$19.00 | Home Depot
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™