Rid yourself of unwanted vines with ‘The Baggie Method’

We are about to revolutionize the killing of unwanted vines growing among things we don’t want to kill!

Okay, so “revolutionary” may be a stretch, but I was shocked while researching this topic that there was scant information out there.  

It seems that, for years, I and my buddy Seth Knight (Professor Seth at the Arbor Gate) are the only two people who offer this prescription.  We call it “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 that doesn’t want their product associated with killing stuff.  Suffice it to say there are lots of resealable bags from various manufacturers out there, and I frankly don’t care if you press, zip or seal your bags. Just use the thickest version you can find in the process below. 

It’s this simple:  Just put some undiluted brush killer in the bottom of a freezer-thick, resealable plastic bag.  Don’t make more than 1/10 full, because you’ll need to stuff as much of the unwanted vine into the bag as possible. Try to get in all the leaves you can. Zip it shut (uhm, I mean seal it), then squish all the brush killer around, coating every single leaf in the bag.  Imagine that you’re marinating.  Make doubly sure it’s zipped as tight as possible around the one stem coming in, and hang it upright with something like a clothes pin, chip clip, or alligator clip.

You may find some situations where this is not a smart way to kill vines. Like if they’re wrapped around roses.  Or if the vine itself has thorns.  The thorns will puncture the bag, allowing the brush killer to drip out and kill anything it touches below.  In those cases, you may need to make a solution of brush killer and surfactant to sponge or paint on individual vine leaves.  

Now, wait at least two weeks for the herbicide to be absorbed.  At that point, the plant should have taken in enough to kill it down to the root. Then you can prune away the dead vine and toss everything out. You might want to inform your neighbors about this project so your sanity isn’t questioned … remember, they’ll be observing freezer bags hanging from your shrub or tree.

By the way … this calls for a real brush killer herbicide.  This is not a job for weed or grass killers.  The most productive brush killers for this method - and the ones that are the most readily available at retail - have the active ingredient triclopyr. There are some combination brush killers out there that also include triclopyr, and I’m good with those. Just be sure anything you pick up for this project has triclopyr in it.   You may find it listed on the front label of some versions in big bold letters. But some products marketed as stump, brush and vine killers are usually also triclopyr-based.  It just may not be as obvious - read the active ingredient label to be sure.

And longtime GardenLine fans may get a giggle out of this: You do not need to add a surfactant to this “baggie” herbicide treatment. Why?  Because we aren’t spraying or painting it on!  We are marinating.

Send me some picture of your attempts at this. The photo above is of a morning glory vine that had invaded my own azalea shrub.  Yep …  I have these problems too.

GardenLine with Randy Lemmon

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