Q: What is the name of the vine growing all over my trees? I am seeing this vine in wildlife areas and along the roadside. It is almost completely covering those trees too. Is it Kudzu?
A: The vine you brought into the office is Wild Muscadine Grape, Vitis rotundifolia. This grape is found in about 15 eastern states especially in cold hardiness zones 6-9. It is a favorite food for birds, deer, wild turkey, raccoon, skunk, squirrel, opossum and black bear. Wild grape is prolific because mockingbirds, cardinals, and robins spread the seed to various areas away from the original site. The fruit found on the vine is in small clusters or as a single grape. The skin of the fruit is very thick but separates from the flesh of the fruit easily. The fruit can be made into jelly or jams. Commercial production is small, but muscadine grapes are widely grown for home use and local markets in southeastern states. Native Americans in Florida also made a blue dye from the grapes.
If you want to get rid of the vines, first cut them close to the ground. Immediately paint the stump with glyphosate. The upper portion will die once its vascular tissue is severed and it has lost its ability to get water. It may take a few days but ultimately the vine will die and then it will be easier to remove from the trees. Reapplication of the herbicide may be necessary for best control.