The "Baggie Method" for unwanted vines
We are going to revolutionize the way we kill unwanted vines growing amidst things we don’t want to kill. Okay, I admit that “revolutionary” may be over-stating it, but I was shocked during the research for this write-up, that there was scant information out there. I know I’ve talked about it for years on the radio show, and I know that my buddy Seth Knight, a.k.a. Professor Seth at the Arbor Gate, and I are seemingly the only two people that regularly give this prescription for those who need to kill unwanted vines, among plants they don’t want to damage.
It’s simply called “the baggie method.” We’ve also used the words zip and lock, but I don’t want to get any cease-n-desist order from some big conglomerate telling me not to use their words in my vine-killing-method. But suffice it to say there are lots of re-sealable bags from various manufacturers out there, and frankly I don’t care if you press, or zip or seal –just use the thickest form of baggie to achieve the method you’re about to be introduced to.
It’s this simple: you put undiluted brush killer herbicide into the bottom of your freezer-thick, re-sealable baggie. I say never fill it more than 1/10th full, because then you need to stuff as much of the unwanted vine into the baggie as possible. You zip it shut (uhm… I mean seal it shut) and then squish all the herbicide around coating every single leaf of said vine with the herbicide in the bag. Imagine you’re marinating each leaf in this solution. Double make sure it’s zipped shut to the one stem coming in from the vine, and hang it upright with anything like a clothes pin, chip clip, or file folder clip.
The idea is also is to shove as many leaves as possible, and/or as many leaves as you can reasonably get in there. You’ll also find some situations where this is not a smart way to kill vines, especially if said vines are wrapped around roses. Or if said vine has thorns itself. Those thorns will puncture holes in the baggie and then the herbicide drips everywhere, and kills that which it touches below. In many of those cases, you need to make a solution of brush killer herbicide, with the added surfactant, and sponge (or paint) it on leaf surfaces of the offending vine, since you cannot or shouldn’t spray.
Then, give it at least 2 weeks, or until the liquid herbicide has been absorbed and or dissipated from the baggie. At that point prune the vine from the baggie and throw them all away. The plant should have absorbed enough brush killer herbicide into the main stem to kill it down to the root. You might want to warn the neighbors of this intended work, because it could make you look like a crazy person with several freezer bags handing from a shrub or tree.
Did you notice I said Brush Killer herbicide? This is not a job for weed and grass killers. The most productive brush killer herbicides for this method and the one that frankly is the most readily available on the retail market has the active ingredient “TRICLOPYR.” There are other brush killer herbicides out there and combinations that also include Triclopyr. I’m good with the combos, but it has to have Triclopyr in it. The word Triclopyr is on the front label of some versions of this herbicide in big bold letters, but the ones that just say Brush Killer and those that say Stump, Brush and Vine killer in any combination are also usually Triclopyr-based. Thus, if it isn’t obvious, read the active ingredient label to be sure. (As you can see in this picture of an active ingredient label)
And for those who have listened to and/or followed GardenLine advice over the years, you’re going to get a giggle out of this – You do not need to add a surfactant to this herbicide treatment. Yes, I said you do NOT need to add a surfactant. Why? Because we aren’t spraying this or painting it on! Remember, we are marinating the leaves inside the re-sealable bag. And the oil carriers that are sort of the inert ingredients in some herbicides, will be enough to be its own surfactant, so to speak! Send me some picture of your attempts at this, as I’ve shared you mine that was a morning glory vine, amongst my own azalea shrub. Yep! I have those same problems too.