There are Worse Things in the Yard then Blackberries….

Every yard has the one unwanted, invasive plant species. At the apartment, it was the weird ivy like bulbs. I’ve heard others complain about honeysuckle, ivy, crabgrass or oxalis. I thought that at our new house, it would be blackberries. But I was wrong. It turns out there is something worse in the yard than blackberries: trumpet creeper vine.

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The vine itself is beautiful. Its actually has great qualities: drought tolerant, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, grows in Sunset zones 1-21, is fast growing, and has amazing orange-red flowers. When we viewed the house in winter, it was dormant, with only woody vines climbing the side of the pump house. At that time, based off the dried seed pods left behind, I was 90% sure this leafless vine was in fact the same we had on the apartment fence. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having it here because it gets covered in ants. I had no idea how much I would also hate it for other reasons.

trumpet creeper vine

Reasons being it is everywhere. Its covering the side of the pump shed and taking over the roof. Its intertwined with the blackberries. Its traveled under our patio to climb up the side of the house 40 feet away. I’ve seen it for sale at nurseries, and its described as “vigorous”. In reality, this plant should come with warning label!

taking over

And its going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate. Unlike the blackberries, the roots go deep. We dug one out to to a depth of 3 feet, and was still on the main tap root. We broke the shovel on while trying to pry it out. Come a few months later, we see prolific foliage climbing from the deep hole we thought we were done with.

I love the look of rambling vines cascading over the side of a shed or a wall, but I’m pretty sure this vine would take the wall down. Unlike roses or twining tendrils of peas, it uses these creepy holdfasts that grow out of the vine, called aerial rootlets, to adhere to the wall like glue. I can see the dried up little finger-like protrusions both on the north side of the house and covering the shed old holdfasts, painted over, remainders of the vines that once grew there.

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Its also a super old vine. The main stalk is at least 8 inches across. A neighbor mentioned that he had been coming over for the past 40 years to hack the vine back for the elderly women who lived here before us. It doesn’t matter much that its growing on the pump shed, because its rotting away anyways and the shed will need to be replaced, but we don’t want it on the house, or pushing its way up though the patio or my planned herb beds. I don’t particularly want something as aggressive as this anywhere on the property.  Even if I had a brain lapse and was OK with supporting Monsanto and using Round-up, it would be horrifying to use it right above our well. And until the rains come again,  the ground it too hard to dig the roots out. So meanwhile, Bacon, however, seems happy to climb through it and hang out on the roof chasing the butterflies that visit.

bacon on shed

Anyone have any bright ideas on how to get rid of it?

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