Wild mustang grapes (Vitis mustangensis), found in areas of the southern United States in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9, are perennial vines that can grow over 75 feet long. The wild mustang grapevine features a fast growth habit and recognizable foliage with velvety white undersides. This grape's fruit is usually bitter and unpleasant, sometimes even irritating, although it is potentially used to make wine. Where a wild mustang grapevine is overtaking desirable vegetation or growing out of bounds, a combination of physical and chemical controls will most efficiently address the unwanted vines.
Things You'll Need
- Loppers or pruning saw
- Non-selective herbicide
- Brush or spray applicator
- Sharp spade (optional)
Cut the grapevine stems just above the soil surface, making each cut surface as level as possible. For stems less than about 1 1/2-inches in diameter, use lopping shears to make the cut. For larger stems, use a pruning saw.
Wipe any sawdust or other debris off the cut surface, as these materials will interfere with the stem's absorption of herbicide.
Prepare a herbicide solution that contains 8 to 10 percent glyphosate or triclopyr. If you are using undiluted glyphosate or triclopyr to make the solution, blend about 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups chemical with a gallon of water. If the product you are using contains, for example, glyphosate that is listed in the active ingredients on the label at 41 percent, blend one part product with three parts water to achieve the desired spray strength. If the specific manufacturer recommends a different rate of application or preparation instructions, follow the manufacturer's directions.
Brush the prepared glyphosate or triclopyr solution onto the freshly cut stem surface using a foam brush or spray the chemical onto the surface. Apply the material so it completely covers the cut surface but not to the point of runoff.
Pull down or otherwise remove the aboveground portion of the grapevine carefully, if desired. It may be easiest to cut the grapevine into several smaller sections for removal. Dispose of all of the sections of grapevine you remove where they will not be in contact with soil, or able to become established.
Monitor the site regularly for at least a year. Spray the foliage of any new stems once the leaves have fully expanded using a herbicide that contains 1 to 2 percent glyphosate or triclopyr. If you are using undiluted glyphosate or triclopyr to create the spray, use 2 1/2 to 5 tablespoons of chemical per gallon of water. Alternatively, you can continue to cut stems back to ground level whenever they appear to gradually starve the grapevine's root system.
Tips & Warnings
- If there is no other vegetation in the area of the grapevine's base, digging up as much of the root system as possible may offer effective control by itself. Regularly monitor the site for re-sprouting and dig up or cut back new shoots as they appear.
- Always follow manufacturer recommendations for safe herbicide use.
- Non-selective herbicides like glyphosate can injure or kill any plants they come into contact with, so apply these chemicals carefully.
- Use caution when pulling grapevines off trees or large shrubs. Make sure you do not stand directly under branches from which you are pulling grapevines.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Vitis Mustangensis
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service: Mustang Grape
- University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Woody Weed Invaders
- University of Tennessee Extension: Brush Control in Urban Landscapes
- United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service: Vitis Mustangensis
- United States Department of Agriculture: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images