Reference my earlier posts on Wild Grape Vine & Pollinators and Grape Vines as a Source of Water. Because of these posts, a reader wrote to ask how to eradicate wild grape vine; she preferred not to use herbicide.
Because the transition area between my prairie and my woodland has become a bit overrun with wild grape vine (Vitis spp) and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), I thought this was a really excellent topic for me to research.
If you are averse to using herbicide, you can smother the stem end after cutting it from the rest of the vine. Wild grape vine must have sunshine to grow.
Or, you can dig the root out of the ground after having cut the stem at the end. Be prepared, however, because this plant has a large root system.
The surest way to eradicate wild grape vine, or for that matter, any unwanted vine, is during the autumn, when they are pulling nutrients back into their roots for their winter nap. Cut the vine at the beginning of the stem and carefully and safely paint just the cut end of the remaining stump with herbicide.
The Cooperative Extension says “to cut them down at the base and IMMEDIATELY treat the freshly cut stump with an herbicide with glyphosate or triclopyr. Do not let the herbicide get on the trunks of your trees (or anything but the vine).” (Cooperative Extension)
Any of these control methods will work for vines growing up into trees and shrubs. There is no need to remove the vine from the trees and shrubs, since it should decay and fall away on its own. However, if the vines have grown extensively overtaking the tree, you might try to remove vine stems from as far up as you can reach to reduce the weight on the tree. Do not pull the vines down since that will damage the branches of the tree.
Also, bear in mind none of these methods will kill any of the rest of the vine that is running/growing along the ground. These runners will either have to be pulled up or smothered, or cut where the roots have anchored themselves into the ground and the cut end safely and carefully painted with herbicide. This is the situation I in which I find myself in my transition area, and I think I should tackle this task soon.