How to Get Rid of Wild Grape Plants

Overview

Wild grapevines growing near home vineyards could host disease organisms, fungi and insect pests--all of which could transfer to the domestic vines. In woodlots, wild grapevines strangle young trees and damage mature timber, competing with the tallest trees for sunlight and nourishment. Wild grapes also provide shelter and food for birds and browsing animals and form an essential part of the natural American landscape. Kill wild grapes only if necessary.

Step 1

Use limb loppers to cut wild grape vines 2 to 3 feet above ground level in late summer when foliage remains green. In mature woodlands, no further action is needed. Grapes require direct sunlight for growth and fully shaded plants usually die within three years of cutting.

Step 2

Mix a solution of 25 percent triclopyr herbicide and 75 percent mineral oil in the pump sprayer's canister. Spray the lower 12 to 15 inches of the grapevine's trunk with the herbicide/sticking agent mixture.

Step 3

Mix 20 percent glyphosphate herbicide and 80 percent water in the pump sprayer for a second application the following spring. Allow the vine to regenerate briefly and leaf out, since plants absorb glyphosphate through leaves. Spray the grapevine leaves on top and underneath.

Step 4

Cut and remove old grapevine stumps that show no more signs of life. Dead vines in shrubs and trees break out easily if cut in fall and allowed to dry out over winter before removal. Cut out green vines piece by piece with pruning shears and limb loppers.

Step 5

Burn the old vines as a disease-control measure for vineyards.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use caution if pulling cut grapevines from trees. Vines often choke and kill upper-level tree limbs and may be securely wrapped around dead but heavy branches. When the vines come down, so may that limb. Don't use glyphosphate as a first herbicide treatment unless the canopy of the grapevine is within easy reach. For vines in fencerows, glyphosphate alone could be effective, but the chemical must be applied to leaves--not bark.

Things You'll Need

  • Triclopyr herbicide
  • Glyphosphate herbicide
  • Mineral oil
  • Pump sprayer
  • Limb loppers

References

  • Forest Leaves: Grapevines in Your Woodlot
  • USDA: Forest Management Guidelines for Controlling Wild Grapevines
  • Texas Agricultural Extension Service: Growing Grapes in the Texas Hill Country

Who Can Help

  • The Tender Fruit: Don't Cut Wild Grapevines to Control Berry Moth
Keywords: wild grapevines, removing wild grapes, kill wild grapes

About this Author

James Young began writing as a military journalist in Alaska and combat correspondent in Vietnam. He specializes in electronics, turnery, blacksmithing, outdoor sports, woodcarving, joinery and sailing. Young's articles have been published in "Tai Chi Magazine," "Sonar 4 Ezine," "The Marked Tree," "Stars & Stripes," the "SkinWalker Files" and "Fine Woodworking."