Weedy vines can cause serious damage to individual trees as well as to the forest canopy. They smother the tree-tops, prevent light from reaching the leaves below, and eventually make whole trees collapse.
The best way to control vines is to cut the stems, leaving the cut vines up the tree to wither and die well above the ground. Avoid the temptation to pull vines down as you cut the stems otherwise the tree may be damaged.
Cut & paint stump method – for single vines
Large infestations sometimes grow from just one or two places in the ground, and are relatively easy to dig out or treat.
First, find the main stem and cut just above the ground
Then, paint the stump with herbicide within 30 seconds of cutting to get uptake of the herbicide before the sap stops flowing. Use a squeeze bottle or paintbrush to just wet the surface, avoiding excess run-off.
A chemical paste or gel works well.
Cut, wait, spray method – for large areas of vines
When there are too many plants to treat individually, a second visit is recommended.
First, cut all the vines. Leave cut vines hanging in trees to die off.
Later when the regrowth is a metre long, spray the new foliage.
6 tips for spraying
- Check the best time of year to apply the spray. Plants usually absorb the most lethal dose of chemical during growth spurts prior to flowering or fruiting.
- Check you have the correct herbicide for the weed you want to kill.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding mixing and application. Do not dip used containers into a water supply, and if you're spraying over or near water, ensure you're using the recommended spray.
- Add a sticking agent (surfactant) to improve the effectiveness of the spray. You could also consider using marker dye to see where you've been, or a foaming agent to minimise spray drift.
- Choose fine, calm weather. A very light breeze can help you control the direction of spray drift.
- Cover new plantings when spraying nearby.