Those pesky vines

Sure, I've said before several times that I love flowering vines. I especially like annual vines, because they let me easily change things up each year if I want to. I love the flowers, I love the foliage climbing up whatever it can find: a trellis, my pergola, the deck stairs railing -- I just love the height that they add.

I also hate vines. Really hate them. Why? They produce countless baby vines the next year. Sure that's expected to some extent, especially with flowering annuals of any kind, but the thing about vines is they get much larger than most other annuals. I really don't need a patch of two dozen vines that each will reach 15 feet tall and wide in the next few months. One or two is plenty, and I already have those.


There are the weed vines like bindweed (I think it's called):

Although they're somewhat attractive, they're really good at pulling down other plants, and they're hard to eradicate.

My main vine issue right now though (as it is every year it seems) is cypress vines. They start out quite cute:

Then quickly turn into this:

And then before you know it, their feathery foliage is everywhere:

I won't even show you the photos of my veggie bed with its carpet of cypress vines. It's kind of cool, but pretty sad at the same time. If it weren't so hot I'd spend a little time out there cleaning them up.

That's the problem though. If the vine seedlings aren't pulled when small, the job quickly becomes exponentially more difficult. I don't weed every day (does anybody?) and if I wait until the weekends, a week seems like more than enough time for the vines to grow a couple of feet and entangle themselves into everything.

There are also vines growing that birds must have planted for me:

This is what appears to be a wild morning glory that has wrapped itself around the cleome. Although it isn't blooming now, it has small blue morning glory type flowers, and the leaf shape says "morning glory" to me:

My strategy with vines wrapped around other plants like this is to just find the base of each vine and pull it out, leaving the tangled tendrils to die where they are for removal later (if needed). It's a bit unattractive for a few days, but is so much less work it's worth the brief ugliness in my opinion.

Of course if there are any seed heads -- no matter how attractive they are -- I need to remove those, or my problem will just multiply next year.

So I just need to remove all of these vines before they start flowering. I'm a sucker for those cypress vine flowers, and I don't want to be tricked into leaving the volunteer vines alone. They must go!


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 22, 2011 at 12:49 PM)  

Alan, it seems St Louis is like a giant outdoor greenhouse in the summer!! Everything seems to grow rampantly!

I do love that cypress vine; I never got around to planting the seeds you sent me. However, the hyacinth vine and castor oil plant are taking their sweet time getting going. I guess they don't like our low humidity and the fact that I'm not all that generous with water :-).

:: Bamboo and More ::

Alan  – (July 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM)  

Gerhard: it feels like a giant outdoor greenhouse a lot of the time too. :-)

I bet if you plant that cypress vine seed today (soak overnight first) you'll still be fine.

Anonymous –   – (March 6, 2014 at 8:45 PM)  

I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I moved into the house I'm in now almost three years ago and the person who was here before me hadn't touched the garden in about seventeen years! In some places the vines were so overgrown that it was impossible to dig and they blocked out all light.
There was pink jasmine, skunk, morning glory/bindweed- the list goes on. I'm only just now getting close to getting close to seeing improvement!

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