This week I was called to inspect the yard of a homeowner who was concerned and upset about a vine that had come to nearly take over her yard over the last couple of years. The vine, Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) had invaded her yard from the neighboring yard to the northeast, and covered most of her shrubs. It appeared that the vine was taking over plants in at least 3 other neighboring yards as well.
Controlling Virginia creeper can be quite a pain if the plant has been allowed to grow for an extended period of time, but removal is still possible.
Remove While Young
Obviously this is only possible when the plant is actually young and small. But be on the lookout for small patches of it in your yard. Removing it early on will make your life much easier, and save you the pain of having to cut the vine away from you and your neighbor's properties.
Cut it Back
If the plant has grown to significant size you will likely have to do a lot of cutting to get rid of it. Start by finding where the vine is rooted, and cut at the base plus the next several feet above the soil line. It is good practice to remove the vine from neighboring plants as well to prevent any negative effects on growth and will help improve appearance.
After you have removed as much of the vine as physically possible, apply herbicide (Glyphosate, preferably). If you do not apply herbicide, the vine is likely to come back quite quickly, especially if it had been growing for a significant amount of time and had produced a sizable root system. Make sure to follow all labeling instructions for application rates and personal protective equipment.
With the onset of fall comes tree planting season. Along with that comes the inevitable questions of what tree should I plant and where should I plant it? You want to choose a tree that will grow well and meet the needs and goals you have for your property. The three tools below can help you do that, no matter where you live.
1. National Tree Benefit Calculator
Start with this tool to see what benefits the trees currently on your property are providing. This tool calculates economic and ecological benefits such as tree dollar value, energy savings and carbon sequestration among others. It is helpful to know what benefits your trees are currently providing so that you can fill the benefit gap with new trees.
You can find the calculator at www.treebenefits.com
2. Tree Species Selectors
There are many factors to consider when planting a tree - mature height/spread, soil needs, climate, fruiting, aesthetics, etc. You want your newly planted tree to survive to maturity, and likely have some goals in mind for what the tree will provide. You simply put in the variables (or as many as you know) and the selector spits out a list of trees suitable for your planting location.
You can find a number of tree species selectors in our Resources section.
3. i-Tree Design
i-Tree Design will help you place trees around your property to maximize the benefits they provide. The tools uses mapping and your building's footprint to determine tree placement. The tool then tells you what your new tree will provide in terms of greenhouse gas mitigation, air quality improvements and stormwater interception. You can play around with a few different species and locations to determine what works best for you and the environment.
You can find i-Tree design at www.itreetools.org/design.php