Invasive Plant Of The Year Nominee: Bittersweet

My nomination for Invasive Plant of the Year: Bittersweet. Dad thought it would be neat to plant this thing at the shady end of the old grape arbor where the grapes have pretty much died out. Dad is gone now, but the bittersweet had become quite robust, taking over most of the grape arbor and had migrated over to a power pole and was two thirds of the way up. The latter looked like an especially bad idea. So I decided that it has to go, and after a half a day of digging, pulling, and cutting, I'm confident that I have failed to eliminate it. Who would have suspected that even a quarter inch vine shoot connects to a one inch root below the ground's surface? Yes, it has lush green foliage and pretty red-orange berries and grows fast. I suspect it may even be sentient, as it tried several times to strangle, trip, or ensnare me as I was working on it. I look forward to attacking this worthy opponent again in the spring ;-)
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Same thing happened to me, except mine did make it up to the transformer at the top of the power lines. I had to cut the vine with a chain saw to kill that section of it. I also have another one that's growing up a section on the rear of my house. The vine has so many runner roots that small shoots are coming up in the rest of my flowerbed along the back of the house and even out in the lawn. I getting rid of this one this fall. Sue in Mi. (zone 5)
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We cut ours back down to the ground every couple years but let it grow. I have a wild life garden and the birds love the berries. I have the native variety. Colleen Zone 5 Connecticut
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Chinese tallow Wax leaf ligustrum Nandina domestica purple loosestrife
In my garden, personally, I'd have to say bermuda is the most invasive plant of the year.
On 02 Nov 2003 22:19:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (SAS567) opined:

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Get it out and replace with a Trumpet Vine. In 2 years you will wish you'd stayed with what you have!!
Tom J who has been trying to rid my place of trumpet vines for years
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tomj snipped-for-privacy@despammed.com says...

Oh, I have those, too. One almost as thick as my wrist climbs the big burr oak in the front yard. They seem more content to stay where put - at least in NW OH.
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I have them, also, but they're not even close to the Bittersweet when it comes to invasiveness. I must also add another one to the nominations. I'm not sure of the exact name. Mom calls it a Cinnamon Bush, but I refer to it as a Spice Bush. Sue in Mi. (zone 5)
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says...

you'd
This trumpet vine I planted ran underground roots under a 20 foot wide concrete drive and is now attacking my neighbors property. I had already crossed under my concrete walkway and has been sending up runners about every 3 feet and climbing every bush and shrub it comes across. I have now resorted to brush killer on every new runner and the original has been dug out along with about 30 feet of roots. In the meantime, the feeder roots left behind are sending up runners!! It's worse than kudzu!!
Tom J
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you'd
I bought a trumpet vine this summer and it is in a large pot. It has lots of foliage but no blooms. What am I doing wrong? I live in Houston and thought it would be a good blooming plant for an arbor but so far it has not bloomed. Phyl
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Most likely too much fertilizer and too much water. If you look around town during blooming season, you will see the most blooms on the vines coming up through the asphalt and clinging to the sides of brick buildings or chain link fences.
Tom J
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hrstone@swbell..net says...

I think you are expecting things to happen a little too fast. In the wild, a trumpet vine may spend several years climbing a tall tree, and produce little more than foliage until it reaches the canopy, where it sets in for serious reproduction. Also it seems you are trying to constrain its size somewhat, growing it in a pot, and I don't know how well that will work. I am not sure if it will develop a robust enough root system. Even if it is satisfied with its situation, I would not expect blooms the first year. Start looking for that to happen more like the third year.
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