old large trees with 'hairy rope'

jones60August 6, 2012

I have some very old large trees with a thick Hairy Fibrous rope" that is growing up the tree. I was told to cut it as it adds extra weight to the tree and can bring limbs down etc What is it and why is it growing along the tree UPWARDS

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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Google images of poison ivy vines.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:39AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

jones....you haven't noticed big bunches of poison ivy in the tops of your trees? Are these, by any chance, broad leaf evergreen trees such as Live Oak?

It's not the vine that adds all kinds of extra weight, it's the massive plants attached to the vine at the top.

I don't suggest that you cut those vines and then start pulling. Old trees can have lots of dead wood that can be broken pretty easily and come crashing down on you.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:55AM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Almost certainly poison ivy.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:00PM
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I found yesterday a massive branch of what from a distance I thought was ash. I runs over to it, see a lot of 'hair' look at the leaves and realise this is just a huge, woody section of poison ivy, ripped loose from the winds. Never saw anything like that before and warned hubby, before he started dissecting it with a chainsaw and pruners.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:01PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i learned long ago.. to cut such at ground level .. and then at 6 feet or so.. and then forget about them..


dress appropriately for said exposure..

DO NOT BURN WHAT IS TAKEN OUT .. PIvy in your lungs will kill you ...

and treat the cut at the bottom with stump killer or 100% roundup ... and repeat every time a new set of leaves appears ...

and i found that the vine can be underground at the same size.. for a very long distance .... and that part will repeatedly send up new suckers.. FOR YEARS ... and you must kill every one of them .. it took me 2 to 3 years.. to kill the underground vine ...


    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:08PM
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I would like to emphasize this is probably POISON IVY. While you may have never gotten poison ivy before that does not mean you can not get it. When you do get it it probably will hit you hard.

Dress so that there is minimum skin exposed. As soon as you are done, take a shower and soap your body from head to foot at least THREE times. make sure you get 100% coverage each time. The idea is to get the oil from your skin.

Everything failing and you do get it, it may take a couple of trips to the doctor.

As said previously DO NOT BURN IT. The smoke can carry the oil to your lungs and any one ore thing that is near by. If the oil is gets into your body you then have real problems.

When we moved to our current home, we had a prize winning poison ivy crop. A bottle of Bayer Crop science poison ivy killer concentrate and several applications have gotten it down to the mopping up operation.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 1:01PM
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I don't see any reason why you have to cut them.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 1:25PM
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We did what Ken did. We did sever the vines (and also some mature English ivy vines) on old trees and left everything from chain-saw height up to shrivel and die. They don't girdle a tree, so there is no reason to rip them all out. They kill a tree by so much foliage production the tree can't photosynthesize properly and they also add a lot of weight with their foliage. Not to mention the production of berries on the mature ones will cause birds to deposit the pests elsewhere. There were no leaves within reaching distance to kill with glyphosate. Severing the vine was the easiest way to kill them, and the stump did leave a good target for the herbicide.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Can I ask a stupid question -- isn't it jumping to conclusion that it's poison ivy? Maybe others know more about the OP and his situation than I do, something not presented in the post. But to me, with very limited information, not even knowing a zone or even a country, I don't think we can just assume it's poison ivy growing up a tree trunk.

Now, if the OP lived in Michigan or Ohio or some other typical temperate zone E. N. American location, I would say yes, the odds are really good, probably great, that it's poison ivy, because that is really the only common wild vine with that kind of form.

But for all we know, this tree is in Australia or Brazil or Malaysia or who knows where? So, it could be one of many types of climbing vines, or it could be some kind of aerial root structure that grows from the tree a la banyan.

Just askin'!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 2:12PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

denninmi, I think you are correct in that everyone is reacting to the "hairy rope" appearance of old poison ivy stems covered with aerial rootlets. Other vines are similar but not as "hairy," but this sure sounds like the same thing. Jones60 - pix, please!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Actually, here in WI, it is more likely to be wild grapevine. There's tons of that happening, especially along roadsides and edges of woods. Seems like it's becoming much more prevalent for some reason, and to my great consternation, especially in conifers.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 5:55PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Does wild grapevine really look "hairy" though? I've seen plenty in NJ and they aren't really hairy.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Its not poison Ivy. Its thick about 4x4 grows up and around certain old trees. whatever it is I was told it adds unwanted weight to the tree causing more harm. I'll try to get pic posted but not sure how to do that

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:23PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

GardebWeb has made posting pictures about as easy as falling off a log. Just look for the "Image file to upload..." space right above where you normally post your message!

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img src="http://somepicturesite.com/yourpicture.jpg"; width=600>

Note that I had to use special characters to get the commands above to show up here without turning into pictures, but you can use them as shown (but with the correct image web address).

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 7:16PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

OK. Second wild guess, if not poison ivy. Let's try Virginia Creeper.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Virginia creeper isn't hairy, either. Jones, it would certainly help if you give us even a general geographical area. Yes, we are all jumping to conclusions but that is what just sprang into my mind when I saw the word hairy. It's the most obvious characteristic of mature poison ivy that once you've seen a very old stand of it, it's the first thing you think of. The large branch of it I was describing has wood thicker than my wrist. It literally looked like a major tree branch. If it's poison ivy, at this season there may be berries on it. I have one stand of it climbing up an ash tree, there are so many poison ivy leaves, it presents as the dominant foliage of the canopy. Look at this old link on another forum to see what a mature poison ivy vine looks like as for the aerial roots.

Here is a link that might be useful: poison ivy vines

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:18PM
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On one of the trees at the edge of my yard there are two old poison ivy vines that are a good 3" in diameter. When it gets this old it becomes very wood like and is quite difficult to cut with an axe.

I don't get that close enough to use a saw.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:24PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm still betting on old poison ivy growth. I can think of no other woody vine that is 'hairy'. Be sure you tell us where you are located, Jones.

Here is a link that might be useful: Poison Ivy vines

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Yes it could still be PI. BTW OP, vines growing on trees, if they are doing any harm, are doing so by eventually shading out the tree's own foliage. That's the case I'm seeing quite a bit of happen around here with the wild grape.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Its a huge poison Ivy vine! Live and learn In CT

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:54AM
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I'm glad you came on and asked for the general consensus. Knowing beforehand could save you a lot of grief before you handled it and had to deal with the consequences. It's nothing to fool with haphazardly. I had to take my son in to an eye specialist when he was a teenager, to have him treated for ocular exposure. It was expensive and it was unpleasant for him. Many of us had to learn the hard way. LOL

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:44AM
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well I actually cut it before inquiring and now have a bit of poison Ivy. Might be from that not sure. Oh well. I never dreamt it was PI. Have poison Ivy in other places. who knows but glad I asked here. Thanks to all.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 5:07PM
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Be aware that once initially exposed, poison ivy often works its magic more readily on subsequent exposures. I could at one time walk bare foot through the stuff with no consequence. Then one day I foolishly cut a tree down with a vine growing up its trunk. Did I say foolishly? I was also wearing no shirt. I got poison ivy rash real bad following that. And now, I seem to be much more sensitized to it.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:46PM
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This old Q Alba has it too.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 10:05PM
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