I have vines under my maple trees. They are growing up on the tree clear to the top. Will they kill the tree? I cut them off but they won’t die. Are they living off the tree?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Debbie: There are many vines and some are more aggressive than others, but ideally we do not want any vine climbing to the top of our trees. If the maples are healthy to begin with it should not be much of a problem, but they will compete for sunlight and nutrients. This can make photosynthesis a challenge and the health of the trees will decline if this is an issue. The maples have a much more extensive root system than the vine and will always win when it comes to moisture. So to answer your question, no, the vine is not living off of the tree but it is using it as a source to climb and reach for sunlight. Since the vine is all the way to the top of your maple it may be difficult to get it all out depending on how tall your trees are. Cutting it back and digging up the roots is the only way to get rid of the vine without damaging the tree. Continuously cutting it back may eventually kill the vine due to lack of sunlight but digging up the roots will ensure that the vine is removed. Avoid spraying since this will damage your maple trees.