WHAT’S THAT PLANT IN MY WOODLAND? – Woody Vines: Wild Riverbank Grape

Mature riverbank grapevine - approx. 2" diameter. Copyright 2012 Landscape Restoration, Inc.

Wild grape, or riverbank grape (Vitis riparia ) was the topic of my last posting on June 13, 2012. Before moving on to a new vining species, I wanted to share these close-up photos of a mature vine. The wild riverbank grape vine in the first photo is approximately two inches in diameter but I have seen them up to four inches in diameter. Notice the shreddy, dried out looking texture of the vine’s bark.

Maturing wild riverbank grapevine adhered to a hardwood tree. Copyright 2012 Landscape Restoration, Inc.

At this time of year the blossoms have turned into immature green berries that will not fully ripen to a purplish-black until late summer.
Although this plant is a native species in the Midwest, considering the size of a mature vine it is not advisable to intentionally let this species grow on desirable trees in your woodland. Not only can the mature vine girdle and kill a tree, the dense canopy of leaves produced by the vine will limit sunlight reaching the leaves of the tree. Without adequate sunlight, reduced energy absorption limits tree health and growth. In contrast, wild grape would be perfect on a dead tree, especially buckthorn!
I use the same cut-stump method that applies to buckthorn control to get rid of unwanted wild riverbank grape vines by cutting the vine close to ground level and applying 18-20% glyphosate using a Buckthorn Blaster.
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