How to Remove a Creeping Fig

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Climbing vines do not necessarily improve the aesthetic value of a property.
Climbing vines do not necessarily improve the aesthetic value of a property. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Creeping fig (ficus pumila) -- also known as climbing fig and creeping ficus -- is a decorative vine that grows in thick thatches on the sides of buildings, fences and homes. While the climbing fig has visually appealing aesthetics, it can also be a destructive nuisance. Typical of most climbing vines, removing the creeping ficus requires diligence. The key is to purge the plant from the bottom up.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning Sheers
  • Ficus pumila specific herbacide
  • 8-inch plastic putty knife
  • Dish soap
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Plastic bristle brush
  • Pressure washer
  • Cleaning detergent for water stain removal

Cut the vines of the climbing fig at the base just above ground. Clear away enough foliage to easily access the base of the vines, but do not pull the vines from the side of the structure. Allow the vines to dry for one week.

Saturate the ground beneath the vines with herbicide per the manufacturer's instructions immediately after cutting the vines. Kill the vines at the root level or the climbing fig simply grows back. Do not use herbicide prior to cutting the base of the vines. Once dry and brittle, the vines are more difficult to cut.

Pull the vines off the structure by hand after they dry for a week. Dehydrated vines loose a relative amount of their tack and are less likely to snap than moist vines. Crape the suckers of the vines off the side of the structure with a plastic putty knife. Immediately rinse the side of the building to saturate the dark tack left from the suckers. Scrub the side of the structure with a plastic bristle brush once the tack is sufficiently moist.

Spray the side of the structure with a pressure washer. Use a cleaning detergent to completely remove the stains from the vine's tack.

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