Weeds that display vinelike growth, commonly called vining weeds, are invasive. Vining weeds may grow up and over other plants, completely shading them out and killing them. Weeds that grow like a vine may be aggressive in gardens but are sometimes used as ornamental plants because they're so attractive. Learn how to control and contain vining weeds to keep them from wreaking havoc in the garden.
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Some of the most common weeds that grow like a vine in the United States are bindweed, wild buckwheat and poison ivy. Wild buckwheat appears in spring and get its name because it is common in wheat fields. The vinelike tendrils of the plant grow up and around wheat plants, making it difficult to harvest the plants. Bindweed is a perennial that grows from seeds or roots every year; despite its attractive pink and white flowers, it is a very aggressive invasive. Poison ivy is a particularly well-known vining weed plant that causes an allergic reaction with human skin.
Wild cucumber and burr cucumber are vinelike weeds that are somewhat less common in gardens, but they are extremely aggressive. Both plants grow high enough to cover trees and, despite the name and the cucumber-like fruits they produce, they are not edible. Both vines will completely swamp trees, shrubs and other nearby plants, making them highly undesirable in garden areas. Wild cucumber and burr cucumber are usually found in rural areas.
Morning glory is a vinelike weed, but it is also purposefully cultivated in gardens because of its beauty. Morning glory grows as tall as 7 feet, producing short-lived flowers. Morning glory grows well in a variety of soil conditions and will climb up any nearby support. When no support system is available, the plant will spread out along the ground. Japanese honeysuckle is also highly invasive, though it has been grown as an ornamental plant for hundreds of years. Because Japanese honeysuckle grows so quickly and in a variety of conditions, it is naturalised in the United States and grows wild throughout much of the country.
Control vinelike weeds mechanically by cutting them down to the ground repeatedly. Aggressive and repeated cutting is particularly effective for controlling poison ivy, but it is not recommended to use this treatment because of the ivy's toxic nature. Herbicides are a much safer method of control against poison ivy, and vining weeds may be treated with both pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides that will control and prevent weed growth.
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- University of Minnesota Extension; Wild Cucumber and Bur Cucumber; Beth R. Jarvis
- K-State Research and Extension: Weeds
- Illinois Wildflowers: Small White Morning Glory
- Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide: Poison Ivy
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service; Poison Ivy; B. Rosie Lerner
- Ohio Perennial & Biennial Weed Guide: Japanese Honeysuckle