(Punny alternate post title: Heard It Through The Giant Non-Grape Vine)
Ok, so remember the ol’ crazyvine that was putting the squeeze on an oak tree in our backyard that we mentioned last fall? It’s a scene straight outta Jumanji.
About half a year ago we cut the base of the vine…
… in an attempt to kill it and rescue our oak tree from its death grip.
And then it just sat there, a la Rose in Titanic. It never let go. And things took a turn for the ugly when the leaves and branches got all dry and dead.
So after 6 months of waiting for it to give up the ghost and magically fall from the tree, we decided that we’d need to take matters into our own hands… with the help of some pruning shears. Basically our method was to clip each dead branch off right at the base where it met the vine since we couldn’t wrestle the vine itself from the tree (it was literally as firm as cement on there, and we didn’t want to damage the oak).
Miraculously we could reach almost every last branch thanks to a ladder and a long handled branch cutter for those upper portions.
Here’s a before shot for ya from last year:
And an after that I just snapped this morning:
It’s nice to no longer have what appears to be a tree that’s eating the house.
One more before:
And an after from that angle now:
I love that there’s not a giant vine weighting down the oak anymore, and the new openness of the upper patio is awesome. It used to feel pretty closed in – and so many berries and pointy leaves (both of which the vine produced en mass) used to fall all over the table and chairs. It’s nice to be free of that dusting o’ junk.
So that’s how you ignore a vine for a few years, then attack the base, then wait for it to surrender and fall to the ground by some vine-miracle, and then make things happen with some shears and a ladder. Any pruning or yard stuff going on in your neck of the woods?
Fantastic job clearing the vine. However, I’d have to put a shrub or something on the deck so I wouldn’t have the neighbors peering at me from the white house. But that’s just me.
Liz P. says
Ya, fight the good fight. We have just begun battle with the highly invasive English Ivy here at our new house in the Pacific Northwest. We lost a Western Red Cedar to the vine before we even moved in but will not surrender the yard!
I can’t believe you passed up on the opportunity to use “di-vine” intervention for vine-miracle;)
Oh my gosh, HOW DID I MISS THAT?!!
(hangs head in shame)
Lori Noe says
Just saw a magnificent wisteria in the Boulevard/Byrd Park area, solid purple from the ground to 30-40 feet (guessing here, but REALLY high). It was beautiful but I’m sure it will drag that tree to the ground in the near future! I have a neighbor that has been trying to get a wisteria to grow and bloom on one of her trees for years (she also has English Ivey she is nurturing, poor mis-guided friend ). Soooooo, late one night I snuck into her yard and looped a nice long vine of artificial flowering wisteria in one of her trees. She was, for a short time, thrilled, excited and triumphant. my bad. Could our mutual county be any more beautiful with the red buds and dogwoods in full bloom?
I know! I wish it would look like this year round. Okay, except for maybe the neon yellow pollen haze on everything.
Wow, what a difference, eh?
I did the bulk of the pruning this winter, while the shrubs were dormant. All except for the lilacs, which I’ll tackle once pass their blooms.
Here’s a Before–when the shrubs looked like they wanted to take over the house.
And here’s the After, excepting the holly. Which did get pruned, but I don’t have a picture of that After.
Any pruning? Oooooh yeahhhhhh . . . I moved into a house last Fall with very mature *cough*neglected*cough* bushes and trees. Recently I attacked two ENORMOUS boxwood hedges, but couldn’t finish the tops because a tree inbetween them is completely out of control, and has branches growing through the boxwood, about six feet up. So this has morphed into a major tree pruning.
If you give a gardening mouse an overgrown boxwood bush, she’ll surely want a tangled tree to go with it. ;-P I don’t want to know the next part of the story except I think it involves some overgrown morning glory.
Excellent job on the vine. Looks fantastic! So much more open and “clean” looking!
What is it with trees and bushes?? I moved recently, too and have been reclaiming the yard from the massively overgrown bushes all around the yard.
I cut down 2 forsythia bushes last fall–bushes that were more than 10 feet in circumference and more than 7 feet tall.
There was a TREE (a 6 foot baby tree but a TREE) in the very middle of one of those forsythia bushes. I had no idea because the forsythia were so huge and out of control. I was able to dig up the roots to the other forsythia, but can’t do it for the tree’d forsythia because they’re so intertwined. So I’ll just be hacking new growth from the forsythia for the next couple years. Maybe the tree will be able to choke it out if I don’t let the forsythia gain any strenghth through leaf production.
What a dramatic change! It looks so much better now. And I know I read about the cutting of the vine but I didn’t recognize your house in the first picture – it looks so different!
We have a couple of bushes that need to be removed because they’re growing too close to the house (like right up against the wall, which is bad because the soil and the roots holding moisture that close to the foundation can harm it). Would be nice to get rid of those!
Hello from France! Bravo for rescuing your tree, and for this inspiring blog. It’s rough sometimes to see how much you actually accomplish…My to do list on EugenieStreet is growing every day, but with 3 boys under 6 (ah, yes, and a full time job also) the done list stagnates a bit…
Grapevines are REALLY hard to kill. We’ve got one that creeps along our backyard fence (and part of the side yard too). It sends tendrils throughout the yard, twining around trees and grabbing hold our our garden fence in an attempt to get in and take over the vegetable garden, MWAHAHAHAHA! Every year we cut it as close to the root as we can manage and pull off all the tentacles, and every year it grows right back up again. At some point we’re going to have to attempt to uproot the darn thing completely.
I too have done this but it was not a vine but a wild rose bush that had taken over my pine tree.
I noticed when we got it done the pine tree just seemed to perk up and say thnak you.
The mighty oak looks great now.
[email protected] says
What a huge difference! You guys were brave to tackle this job yourselves. I have a black thumb myself and our yard needs help!
Sherri J. says
As a home builder we have to do something similar to this a lot. People go “I want my house here”, then…we find a branch or a tree in the way.
Looks great! One question though…it looks like the main vine is still clinging to the tree. Is it too hard to remove? It looks like some sort of a alien clingon with veins on your tree. I think I’d be in your yard with a pry bar getting the remnants off the tree! We lost a 100 y/o oak this year due to ivy invasion. Luckily it didn’t fall on our side of the property (it was on our neighbors property!).
Oh yes, it would damage the tree to yank it off (it’s gripping into the bark).
Amy B. says
Love the hands on approach… wondering what you do when your vine intruder is big-ole Poison Ivy? We cut the vine at the base and promptly threw away the saw & hubby (who isn’t too sensitive) still got a gnarly rash. I puff like a fish if I get near it and it goes up a 40 ft. tree… We desperately need a hands off approach :)
Hmm, good question. I just spotted some special poison ivy Round-Up weed spray at Lowe’s. Maybe that could be a route to kill it before removing it?
WOW! It looks like a touchy-felly tree.
By the way, I love that you have neighbors but their houses seem to be comfortable distance away.
It’s definitely the start of the outdoors season here :-) We replanted some of our indoor plants, made up some hanging baskets and I rescued my heather out the front from a weed that was choking it.
We need to cut back the tree in our back garden, but over the winter my pruning shears have disappeared! We might need to clear out the garage before we do anything else.
The Oak tree looks so much better for losing its vine-y straightjacket, great job!
erin moria says
Looks great! Amazing what a little trimming can do to a house’s appeal. I love the outdoor posts now that it is spring. Here’s to a great spring and summer!
The trimmed-back look really shows off the cool architectural detail of your roof line. And I dig the big snake-y body of the old vine twisting around the tree trunk. Nicely done!
Gabbi @ Retro Ranch Reno says
Holy smokes…what a major difference!!! Great job, guys…you saved that tree and your eyeballs from an ugly view. ;)
I’m impressed what a huge difference that made. Nice work guys!!