Q.How to Kill an Invasive Vine from Irises
For years my Mom’s yellow irises have been reseeding themselves, growing, spreading and gloriously blooming without fail every spring. However, for the past 4 or 5 years a very invasive, domineering vine has began growing along the sides, and now throughout the irises that wraps itself like “ropes” around the flowers until it spreads itself like a huge net, covering the flowers with its weight and bends my irises to the ground. These vines have no flowers, just pointy narrow leaves that cover the flowers as the vines search for something else to attach to — like my brick house.
I have to get out and unwrap the vines from my irises and pull them off and cut them to the ground. This only encourages them to grow thicker, however. If I want to enjoy my irises for the short time they bloom, I have to keep at it. Question: What can I use to kill these vines without harming the irises and/or should I dig up the iris bulbs when they finish blooming, then use some type of “total kill” chemical throughout the planting bed, then start over with a weed liner and new soil in a raised planting bed? This would be a monumental job for me; however, I really can’t stand the vines! HELP!!!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It sounds like it may be bindweed and it is very hard to get rid of. I would personally recommend digging up the irises and treating the area with a general herbicide. Bindweed can be aggressive and could take years to get rid of otherwise. This article has other suggestions (the picture shows white flowers, but the bindweeds I have seen do not bloom too much and, if it blooms, the blooms tend to be small): https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/weeds/controlling-bindweed.htm