County Extension Agent

How to take the green out of greenbriar, and poison ivy, is a question I get quite frequently, especially during the spring months. Greenbriar and poison ivy are both native, perennial, woody vines that can become invasive and grow into large thickets that can prevent access by people and livestock.

Controlling Greenbriar or Poison Ivy is not a one-time job. Both plants produce many seeds that attract birds and wildlife. In addition they spread with underground tubers. Several repeat treatments will be needed.

Right now, we have no ground broadcast recommendations. Broadcast applications of various herbicides have not provided consistent control of these tough woody vines. However, the following method is easy to use, environmentally responsible and effective. This method treats individual plants with a mixture of herbicide and diesel or vegetable oil applied to the basal stems.

Keep these points in mind before spraying:

Works best on greenbriar or poison ivy that is growing on fence lines or where the basal stems are easy to access for spraying.

This method works best during winter when most of the leaves are gone and the basal stem can be covered more readily with the spray mix.

Follow the directions on the herbicide label.

The cost of treatment escalates rapidly as the density of greenbriar increases or the number of basal stems increase.

Use an adjustable cone nozzle with a small orifice to reduce volume and waste.

Do not spray when stems are wet.

After mixing herbicide with diesel or vegetable oil, shake or agitate the mixture vigorously before application.

The herbicide can be applied with a pump up garden sprayer, backpack sprayer or a sprayer mounted on an ATV. Make sure the sprayer has an adjustable cone nozzle with a small orifice to reduce volume and spray used.

Use Remedy herbicide in a mixture with diesel fuel oil at concentration of 25 percent Remedy and 75 percent diesel. For example, to make one gallon of mix: Use 1 quart of Remedy in 3 quarts of diesel fuel oil. Agitate the mixture vigorously before application. A commercial vegetable oil carrier can be substituted for diesel if desired.

Adjust the sprayer nozzle to deliver a narrow, cone shaped mist. Spray the mixture lightly but on every basal stem from the ground level up to about twelve inches high. Spray to coat each stem all the way around, but not to the point that the mixture runs off or puddles.

If you have just a little greenbriar or poison ivy and do not need a gallon of Remedy you can also use products like Bayer Advanced Brush Killer Plus or Ortho Brush-B-Gone.

Or if you are looking for an organic method you can use the old faithful pair of gloves and shovel. Or you can invest in a herd of goats that will browse the vines until the plant roots starve due to a lack of leaves producing food.

If you have any questions or need more information, call the Somervell county Extension Office at 897-2809.