Russian vine is sometimes referred to as ‘mile a minute’ and that doesn’t come as a surprise when you learn just how fast-growing this pesky weed can be. Some people do like to plant it on purpose and there are numerous articles talking about how it will grow quickly to cover unsightly structures. While this is true, it will also rapidly take over the garden and it can then be a nightmare to get rid of. What’s more, this plant has very feisty seed pods that spread just as quickly as the original plant grows. For this reason, most people are wondering how to get rid of Russian vine once and for all. The good news is that while it is a stubborn plant, it can be dealt with provided you take the right steps and in this guide, we’ll be showing you exactly what to do.
What Is Russian Vine?
Russian Vine, also known as Fallopia baldschuanica or Polygonum baldschuanicum, and commonly referred to as Mile-a-Minute vine, is a fast-growing, climbing vine known for its vigorous growth habit. It is native to Asia and the Caucasus region but has been introduced to other areas as an ornamental plant.
Here are some key characteristics of Russian Vine:
- Growth Rate: It is called Mile-a-Minute vine for a reason; it can grow very rapidly, often several meters in a single growing season, which makes it a popular choice for quickly covering fences, trellises, or other structures.
- Foliage: The vine has heart-shaped green leaves that can provide dense coverage.
- Flowers: It produces small, white or pale pink flowers in panicles during the late summer and early autumn, which can be quite attractive.
- Invasiveness: In the UK, Russian Vine is considered invasive due to its ability to spread quickly and overwhelm other plants, structures, and even trees. It can be difficult to control once established.
- Maintenance: Due to its fast growth, it requires regular pruning to keep it in check, and it can be a challenge to eradicate once it has spread.
- Uses: While it can be useful for quick coverage, its invasive nature means it should be planted with caution and managed carefully.
Why is Russian Vine a Problem?
The problem with Russian vine is that it grows so quickly, and many would compare it to the notorious Japanese knotweed. They wouldn’t be far wrong in this comparison as the two plants are quite similar as they come from the same family of plants: Fallopia. As Russian vine grows, it will quickly take over native plants and choke them, giving itself full reign over the garden. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a climbing plant so in order to thrive it will need a structure such as a wall, fence, trellis or anything else vertical. It’ll also use other plants to climb which is why it can be so problematic for them especially since it can get pretty weighty.
How To Get Rid of Russian Vine
While Russian vine is stubborn and invasive, if you have it in your garden, there’s no need to worry as there are several methods you can use to get rid of it once and for all.
1. By Hand
For gardens where the Russian vine has significantly taken over, you may need to tackle the problem manually. This can be done by using a trimmer to cut away the majority of the vines before pulling the remainder out. Once you’re done, you can rake the area to remove any final offending matter. Even if the problem is less severe, manually removing the vines is one of the most effective methods as you can pay very close attention to what you’re removing. Use gardening gloves and some good quality shears for smaller invasions and if you begin to notice any new Russian vines coming through, you can quickly tend to these.
While you can, in theory, manually remove the vines at any time of the year, we would suggest doing so in autumn as the leaves will have stopped growing so you’ll have less of a fight on your hands.
2. Weed Killer
Using a weed killer containing triclopyr or glyphosate will have excellent results. These products are widely available and will quickly kill Russian vine. You can apply this week killer once every two to three weeks for as long as is needed. Just make sure that when you stop using it that the plant is well and truly dead. While this is a slightly time-consuming method, the results are among some of the best so it’s worth being patient.
3. White Vinegar
You will need to do this when the weather is dry so keep an eye on the forecast and plan accordingly. You’ll apply the vinegar to the roots of the plant, and it will need to be mixed with some washing-up liquid. This mixture can then be sprayed directly onto the plants or by using a scrubbing brush to work the solution in. If you don’t notice results within a day or two then you may need to adjust the concentration of your solution by adding more vinegar.
Salt is very effective at killing almost all plants. It dehydrates the plant and prevents it from taking on essential water and nutrients.
Be careful not to oversalt the area as the salt will remain in the soil and prevent plants from growing in the area for quite some time.
5. Sunlight Deprivation
Russian vine needs sunlight to thrive so by depriving it of this, you may be able to successfully kill it off. The easiest and most organic way of doing this is by adding mulch to the area that the plant is growing to cover it up. This method will take some time so you’ll need to be patient but over the course of a couple of months, you will slowly begin to see the weeds withering away.
While the Russian vine is a rather beautiful plant, its invasive nature makes it nothing more than a pest in your garden. But getting rid of these stubborn plants does take some hard work. Fortunately, there are many methods to choose from whether you want to take a natural approach using boiling water or vinegar or prefer to tackle weeds with chemicals, you’ll likely have success. However, the most effective way how to get rid of Russian vine is by pulling it out by hand. You can, of course, cut it back with shears or a trimmer first to make life easier. This method is also ideal for controlling the plant in the future.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Monitor the area for new growth and remove as necessary!”
“If you are looking for a climbing plant or ground cover, it is best to plant something native like Ivy that is a little easier to control!”
“The best method is to get down and dirty and pull the invasive pest up by hand removing the plant along with the roots and stems!”
“Shred all parts of the plant that have been removed and leave in a plastic bag until it begins to rot and then it can be added to your compost pile!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Russian Vine a problem?
Russian vine (Fallopia baldschuanica) is an invasive plant that can cause a lot of damage if it’s not controlled. It grows quickly and aggressively, and can completely take over a garden or landscape.
Should I plant Russian Vine?
No. Russian Vine (Fallopia baldschuanica) is an invasive species. It is a perennial plant that can grow up to 15 feet tall and has large, heart-shaped leaves. The vines grow quickly and can form dense thickets, which can shade out other plants.
Russian Vine reproduces by cloning itself, and one plant can produce dozens of vines. The vines spread by clinging to trees, fences, or other objects and then growing down to the ground. The roots also grow deep and wide, which makes it difficult to remove once it becomes established.
Is Russian Vine invasive?
Russian Vine is extremely invasive and can quickly spread and occupies large areas, displacing native plants and reducing the diversity of plant life. It also consumes a lot of resources – such as water, light, and nutrients – that would otherwise be available for other plants, which can stunt their growth or even kill them. Additionally, Russian Vine produces abundant amounts of seeds which can spread to new areas very easily, making it difficult to control or eradicate once it becomes established.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.