|Invasive vines: climbing fences and choking out bushes like a boss.|
My yard is covered in vines. Terrible, invasive, non-native vines, that seem to grow a lot faster than I can get rid of them. It has become a serious problem. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), English ivy (Hedera helix), and mile-a-minute vine (Polygonum perfoliatum) can all be found on my property in Edmonston, Maryland. Initially brought in for ornamental purposes, their agressive growth have allowed them to take over large portions of my yard. They grow over natural groundcover, trees, shrubs, fences, gardens, sheds, and even the house itself. It makes me very unhappy. But their is one invasive vine that really gets under my skin, much more so than all the others combined: Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata).
|Ampelopsis brevipedunculata, with unripe fruit. If you see this in your yard, get rid of it before those berries start to turn blue.|
Porcelain berry is the worst. Unless of course it's growing in its native Asian temperate forests. Like the others mentioned above, it has been cultivated in the United States for ornamental use, but where I live, it is a serious invasive threat. Any individual plant purchased for ornamentation quickly becomes many as a result of seeds being spread by birds and other animals, as well as by vegetative means. It is a climber, and will grow up and choke out even the tallest trees. One plant, in a pot or on a trellis in your yard can quickly become a neighborhood or city/county/state wide problem.
|The reddish stem and tender young leaves associated with new growth in Ampelopsis brevipedunculata.|
To add injury to insult (yes, I do mean it that way), there is one more thing that puts porcelain berry on my invasive "most wanted" list. I mentioned above that it really gets under my skin, and I mean that quite literally. I appear to be highly allergic. The first time I cleared it out of the American holly tree, I thought I must have gotten into poison ivy or oak (both of which can also be found in my yard), because I broke out in a bit of a rash. The second time I cleared it from a section of fence, it was immediately clear that it was the porcelain berry that was making me break out in the worst plant-based rash I've ever had (and I've had a few). This woody, deciduous, perennial vine is a menace. If you find it in your yard, I'd highly recommend you get rid of it. Just wear gloves before you start cutting and pulling it down.