“The Baggie Method”

Although I have covered this in the past, I wanted to offer a fresh introduction to this vine-killing technique after a recent increase in calls to GardenLine on the matter.

I’ve said previously that this could revolutionize the way we kill unwanted vines growing amid things we don’t want to kill. Okay, “revolutionary” may be overstating it, but I was shocked while researching the topic that there was scant information out there on the issue.

I’ve talked about it for years on the radio show, and my buddy, Seth Knight (“Professor Seth” at the Arbor Gate), is seemingly the only other person who regularly gives out this advice. It’s simply called “the Baggie method.”

We’ve also used the words “zip” and “lock,” but I don’t want to get a cease-and-desist order from some big conglomerate telling me not to use their trademarks in my vine-killing-technique. In any case, there are lots of resealable bags from various manufacturers out there, and it doesn’t matter if you press, or zip or seal them - just use the thickest bag you can find.

It’s simple: Put undiluted brush killer in the bottom of your freezer-weight, resealable bag. Don’t fill it more than 1/10, because you’ll also need to stuff in as much of the unwanted vine as possible. Include as many leaves as you can. Then zip it shut (uh … I mean seal it shut), and squish the herbicide around to coat every single leaf of the vine in the bag. Imagine you’re marinating each one. Double make sure the bag is closed as tightly as possible around the one stem coming in, and hang it upright with something like a clothespin, chip clip, or file folder clip. You might want to warn the neighbors about your project … they may wonder why you’ve madly hung freezer bags from a shrub or tree.

After about two weeks, or when the liquid herbicide has been absorbed, prune the bag off the vine and throw it away. The plant should have taken in enough brush killer to kill it down to the root.

By the way … did you notice I referred to the herbicide above as brush killer? This is not a job for weed or grass killers. The most productive brush killers for this – and, frankly, the ones most readily available at retail stores, have the active ingredient triclopyr. There are some brush killers, stump killers and vine killers out there featuring herbicide combinations that include triclopyr, and I’m good with them. Just be sure “triclopyr” is on the ingredients label (above photo).

By the way, you may find some situations where this is not a smart way to kill vines, like if they are wrapped around thorny roses. Or if the vine itself has thorns which will puncture holes in the bag and allow the herbicide to drip out and kill anything it touches below. In those cases, make a solution of brush killer and a surfactant, and carefully sponge or paint it on leaves of the offending vine. Don’t try to spray it.

Regular GardenLine listeners may be surprised to learn that adding a surfactant when using the Baggie method is not necessary. Yes, I said you do NOT need to add a surfactant when using a bag. Why? Because we aren’t spraying or painting it on! By marinating the leaves inside the bag, oil carriers that are among the herbicide’s inert ingredients will be enough.

Send me some picture of your attempts at this. The photo above is of a morning glory vine amidst my own azalea shrub. Yep! I have the same problems.

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