Doing my summer weeding, I yanked this 10-foot-long porcelainberry vine and was so impressed by it I made it pose for a photo, then researched it online. At 10 feet on June 15 it would no doubt have reached the 20 feet predicted for it.
Googling this famous invasive menace produced one primary source of information about it – from the National Park Service. Most other authoritative sources (like this one) simply lift their information about porcelainberry directly from the National Park Service.
including this quote: "In spite of its aggressiveness in some areas, it is still widely used and promoted in the horticultural trade."
Wow, who knew the horticultural trade was as environmentally oblivious as BP? Or are they? I asked John Peter Thompson (expert on both invasive plants and the horticultural industry) and he told me that nurseries stopped selling it almost a decade ago and that now it's really hard to find now – only by mail order. And several nursery-biz friends all agreed – the days of selling porcelainberry is long gone.
Ready for Roundup?
Of course, recommended eradication methods are listed, starting with the "manual" method (though it includes cutting and using synthetic herbicide), then "chemical".
For vines too large to pull out, cut them
near the ground and either treat cut stems with systemic herbicide or
repeat cutting of regrowth as needed.
Chemical control in combination with manual and mechanical methods is effective and likely to be necessary for large infestations. The systemic herbicides triclopyr (e.g., Garlon® 3A and Garlon 4) and glyphosate (e.g., Roundup® and Rodeo®) have been used successfully by many practitioners.
Now, I'm a follower of IPM myself and understand that sometimes
herbicides are the best solution, but Roundup is a controversial product with lots of highly respected opponents, and I'd like to see this authoritative website mention that. They could just link to sources both pro and con on the issue, and to evidence-based writers like the Garden Professors. In all their public info about invasive plants there's a great opportunity for the Park Service to clear up some of the misunderstanding about herbicides.
Look Who Loves Porcelainberry!
What can hardly be denied is that this particular plant is, without a doubt, one of the most destructive plants in North America. And not just for parks. In the garden, this Supervine can smother whole shrubs and even dogwoods in a single season. Bad, bad garden plant!!
YET, here's eHow recommending the stuff, and Ohio State seems fine with it!!! And Martha Stewart says it has attractive fruit and fall foliage, and recommends these garden uses: "Climbing, ground cover, and naturalizing."
I don't get it.