In response to my recent posts on grape vines, I received several notes regarding vines for fellow Wild Ones members.
Toni Stahl sent a tip for eradicating wild grape and non-native English Ivy (Hedera helix) vines. Wear vinyl gloves and use Q-tips to paint the ends of the cut stem with herbicide. See her November 2019 Nature Scoop article under Tips for Your Yard.
Kathy McDonald wrote to remind us that not all native vines are aggressive and dominating. That they typically co-exist in nature with trees and shrubs. She also referenced a Facebook post from Indigenous Landscapes as a good source of information on vines.
Author Mariette Nowak wrote to share suggestions for using native vines as habitat in your landscaping:
“Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia): According to DeGraaf, 35 birds feed on the fruit. Among them, it is the preferred food for many woodpeckers, robins, several thrushes and warblers, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Bluebird, Brown Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Red-eyed Vireo and Fox Sparrow. According to Hightshoe, the fruit is of high value to birds.
As for how Virginia Creeper stacks up next to wild grapes and Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). Wild grape (Vitis spp), according to Hightshoe, is rated very high for the wildlife value of its fruit, making it superior in that regard to Virginia Creeper, whereas Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper are both rated simply high, so both are equal in that regard. But Virginia Creeper is better than Poison Ivy in hosting Lepidoptera (according to Dr. Tallamy’s list of woody plants rated for the number of Lepidoptera they host) Virginia Creeper hosts 32, while Poison Ivy hosts 15. However, grapevines host 79, so they offer more value both for birds and Lepidoptera. However, I agree grape vines are terribly aggressive. In my yard, I try to relegate them to steep hillsides.
Other possibilities include:
Common Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicals): It is a nectar source for hummingbirds and seeds for goldfinches, according to DeGraaf.
Native Honeysuckle Vines: These include Red Honeysuckle (Lonicera dioica), Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) and Yellow Honeysuckle (Lonicera proliferare) — all offer nectar sources for hummingbirds.
American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens): According to DeGraaf, 15 birds feed on the fruit.
Virgins Bower (Clematis virginiana): Beautiful in flower, but fruit is low value for birds.
My main sources are : Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America by Gary Hightshoe, and Trees, Shrubs and Vines for Attracting Birds by Richard M DeGraaf.
Note: Some of the vines above were not included in these 2 books.”
A good description of these vines and more can be found at Gardening for Wildlife.
See also Toni Stahl’s October 2019 Nature Scoop article Tips for Your Yard.
Poison ivy, certain oaks, and black walnuts were allegedly introduced to this continent, very early on, by a specific group. They sent outliers to plant especially by springs. They liked tannin in their springwater. They could eatstinging. Nettles raw.
Remnants of these people are on the disability roll.
Asters came from mining areas, lost to the early industrial revolution.
Donna VanBuecken says
I would think returning the caves to habitat for bats would be a huge benefit to the environment, Cindy.
Kathy McDonald says
Wonderful follow-up, thanks for keeping us informed!
Donna VanBuecken says
You are so welcome, Kathy.