How to Kill the Trunk of a Vine


Vines are often thought of as narrow and herbaceous, but several vines such as wisteria (Wisteria spp.) have thick, stable trunks from which the vines grow. When you want to kill long vines that grow on a trellis or interfere with other plants, you only need to cut the vines to separate them from the trunk. Although the long vines will shrivel up and die, the trunk remains alive and can develop new vines. Use herbicide to kill the vine trunk and roots so it doesn't continue sprouting new vines.

Things You'll Need

  • Systemic herbicide
  • Spray bottle
  • Bypass pruners
  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Prepare a 25 percent solution of a systemic herbicide such as glyphosate in a spray bottle. Mix a 41 percent glyphosate product at a rate of 8 1/3 ounces to 1 quart of water or 33 1/3 ounces per gallon of water, depending on the number of vine trunks you must treat. Clearly label the spray bottle and save any remaining herbicide for future use.

  • Make a straight cut across the trunk to reveal the bare wood inside. Make a fresh cut if the trunk was cut previously.

  • Spray the exposed cut surface of the trunk with the 25 percent herbicide solution. Cover the entire wood surface, but concentrate the application around the edges and bark layer for faster transport into the roots.

  • Monitor the trunk for new vine sprouts for up to one year after the initial application. Glyphosate herbicide takes effect in one to two weeks, but suckering vines can be problematic. Make a fresh cut across the stump and reapply the herbicide solution as needed until the vines stop growing back. The trunk should dry out and lose its color as the herbicide take effect.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use bypass pruners or lopping shears to cut narrow vines off the trunk. Use a pruning saw to cut through the trunk.
  • Wisteria grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, but specific zones vary among the different species.

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