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How to kill a Russian vine

Updated February 21, 2017

The flowering Russian vine (Polygonum baldschuanicum) is also known as the mile-a-minute-vine. Homeowners appreciate it because it grows so quickly that it covers walls and fences in a few seasons. But, homeowners soon learn that Russian vine just won't stop growing. To kill a Russian vine, you must combine mechanical and chemical control methods. The best time to kill it is in early fall as soon as temperatures begin to drop, when plants are most susceptible to systemic herbicide damage.

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  1. Cut the vines with a pair of lopping shears, 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) above ground level.

  2. Paint each cut vine with a small paintbrush dipped in a glyphosate-based systemic herbicide immediately after you make each cut. Waiting longer than 30 seconds will severely reduce the effectiveness of the herbicide application.

  3. Cut the climbing vines away from the tree or structure that they cling to with a pair of sharp pruning shears.

  4. Monitor the area for regrowth around the cut stumps. Spray or paint the regrowth with a systemic herbicide before it reaches 30 cm (1 foot) in height.

  5. Dig up the Russian vine's roots, if desired, the following growing season when no more regrowth occurs.

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Things You'll Need

  • Lopping shears
  • Paintbrush
  • Systemic herbicide
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel

About the Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.

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