Vine choking a tree
30 Apr
Allowing Vines to Grow on Trees is Never a Good Idea

Vines should not be allowed to take over your trees. Most vines including evergreen vines (green year-round), that grow rapidly will damage trees. Slow growing deciduous vines may not be as bad to the tree.

Vines grow up and around in a counterclockwise pattern and can potentially grow as much as 70 feet in its lifetime.

Wysteria vine choking a tree

The reason that vines are bad for trees is that they can grow up into the canopy and cover the tree’s foliage and starve the tree for sunlight. Second, they can strangle the tree and inhibit its ability to transport sugar, photosynthate and other chemicals down to the trunk and roots, leading to a slow death by starvation and lack of sufficient water. Lastly, they could root in past the bark and feed themselves from the nutrients from the phloem and xylem cells of the tree.

  • Vines that cover the ground around the base of the tree, the root flare, may end up forming a covering that may trap moisture combined with decaying leaves which may lead to the potential for fungal and bacterial diseases. This could result in the tee becoming diseased and possibly dying.
  • Examples of Aggressive vines – These cause tree decline and eventual death:
    Confederate jasmine
    Yellow jessamine
    English ivy
    Ficus
    Wisteria.
Wisteria Vines
Wysteria vine
  • Examples of Invasive or poisonous vines – These vines are a threat to the trees:
    Air potato
    Poison ivy.
  • Cut the vines and try to remove them from the tree without pulling the bark off. Doing that would make the tree susceptible to insects and bacteria. As long as the vine has not rooted in past the back, the vines should eventually die once cut from its roots.
  • When removing vines, wear gloves and protective clothing to include long sleeve shirt, pants, boots, gloves and a hat to protect your skin.

 Once the vines have been cut, pull the roots up and discard in a refuse bag. Mulching this area with 3” of mulch or pine straw to keep in moisture and prevent the roots from drying out.


If you have any questions about the health of the your trees, please call Northside Tree Professionals at 770-394-0905.