September 2, 2017
I found some interesting fruit hanging from a vine in NE Arkansas. The fruits are small and oval and a dark purple. What is this plant and are they edible?
The vine and fruit in question is commonly called rattan vine or supplejack, Berchemia scandens. This native vine produces a very wiry, woody stem. If allowed to grow up a young tree or shrub, it can girdle it. I have had it in my yard for years, but it is in pretty heavy shade, and I try to control it—because I have not been able to kill it! I have not seen the fruit in my heavily shaded yard, but it does form berries that are highly prized by wildlife in Arkansas. I can’t find any references to it being eaten by humans other than a report that as children they ate them, they didn’t taste good and they didn’t die, so let’s leave them for the birds and squirrels!
May 20, 2017
How do you care for a "cross Vine"? Also known as a Greenhaw vine. I obtained this plant from Williamsburg, VA and it needs to be trimmed badly.
Crossvine, Bignonia capreolata is the better-behaved cousin of the trumpet-creeper. This native perennial vine blooms usually from April through May. Its woody vines climb well and can grow 50 feet up into trees, but can be trained on a fence or trellis. Several improved varieties such as ‘Tangerine Beauty’ and ‘Jekyll’ can have some sporadic blooms off and on through the summer. It blooms best in full sun. If it needs pruning, do so as soon after flowering as possible.
October 8, 2016
On a recent trip, I saw kudzu growing rather heavily on Highway 65 south of Marshall. Are there concerns of the kudzu spreading to other areas in Arkansas? Is there a program to destroy it?
Take a drive through southern Arkansas, Mississippi and other southern states and you will see acres of kudzu blanketing the roadsides. Kudzu was introduced to the U.S. during the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 by the Japanese, but its real spread came when government agencies started promoting its planting for erosion control. Common names include mile-a-minute vine and the vine that ate the south. Eradication is difficult since it is quite tenacious. Cold weather takes its toll, which limits its spread in northern counties in Arkansas and northern states.
October 1 2016
I have many flowering plants covered by vines with blue flowers. This is the first time I have seen it. Is this kudzu? How do you get rid of it?
Kudzu is a prolific vine with purple to pink flowers. It is in the pea family, so it has a pea-like bloom. It is a fast growing vine, so if it is just appearing, do your best to eradicate it. Pull out what you can and then treat the base of the vine with roundup if possible.
September 19, 2015
Attached is a picture of a sun-loving plant I know as "hummingbird vine" or "cardinal plant". I usually collect seeds from dried flower pods to plant the following year. But this year there are no little black seeds in the pods! I'm not sure what is happening. Suggestions? Thanks.
The plant in question is commonly called cypress vine or hummingbird vine - Ipomoea quamoclit. It is actually related to morning glory and is an annual vine, but as you know, typically forms seeds to reseed itself—or you can save seeds to replant. I think you will have seeds, but everything was a bit later than normal this year. I would suspect you have just missed some as well, since it has been blooming for a while.
Do you happen to know what type of vine is in the attached picture? It is growing up the side of a redbud tree. I think it is quite pretty with all the berries. Will it harm the tree?
The plant in question is commonly called Carolina Moonseed, or Coralbead - Cocculus carolinus. This deciduous native vine goes unnoticed until the fall when it produces the lush, showy red berries. Birds eat the fruit and deposit the seeds, and the plants grow where they will. Some gardeners find them invasive and try to eradicate them. I like the fall berries, but would try to grow the vine on a trellis or fence, not in the tree.
I have a lot behind my home that is being taken over by English Ivy. It is taking over my fence and trees just beyond my back yard. Is there anything that will kill this stuff? I keep pulling it and cutting it off my fence-which is a never ending battle. I tried glyphosate twice once normal strength and once triple strength to no effect. Is there anything that I can use that will kill it. I do not want it to kill the trees behind my home, and I am tired of the constant fight to keep it out of my yard. Any advice would be appreciated.
This is why I warn people, make sure you want it BEFORE you plant it. English ivy has a very waxy coating on the leaves which helps to repel herbicide damage. I would cut it back as severely as possible and then use a weed-eater or lawn mower to damage the remaining leaves before you spray with a herbicide like Round-up. Breaking up the outer waxy layer will allow the herbicide to penetrate. Late summer to early fall would be the best time to do this as it will store more of the chemical in the root system. I seriously doubt one application will totally kill it, but over time, you can get rid of it.
I live in Mountain Home AR, I have a wisteria that just doesn't bloom. Is there a certain fertilizer I should be putting on it.. It's bout 5 years old. Everybody else that has one is blooming. My next door neighbor has 3 large cedars fairly close to it, could that be a problem? If so is it too old to move? The base of it is about the size of a baseball bat. If I can't move it is there a way to take cuttings off it and get a root to plant it somewhere else. It is just doing beautiful where I have it in a corner on my fence and growing up the side and across the back. It's doing everything I want it to but no FLOWERS! Any advice would be appreciated.
This is actually a fairly common question, but you wouldn't expect it with the amount of wisteria that is freely blooming all across our state right now. Wisteria can take its own sweet time getting established and growing before it slows down and starts blooming. It does best in full sun, but does need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to bloom. It is not unusual for wisteria to take 6-8 years before it starts blooming, but once it does, it should every year. Prune it hard now that it is beginning to grow, keep it on its trellis or fence—do not allow it to grow up a tree. You can try root pruning the plant in June—take a straight edged shovel and make some staggered cuts in the ground as if you were going to dig it up and move it. You don’t do it solid line of cuts, but three or four in the root circle. This can slow down the top growth to regenerate roots, and sometimes it pushes it into setting flower buds for the next season.
I planted a climbing hydrangea about 5 years ago and it has never bloomed. It is a beautiful green plant again this year, but no sign of a budding bloom. It is planted in the shade as are my other types of hydrangeas. Could you give me any advice to make it bloom?
Climbing hydrangeas take their sweet time before they start blooming, so be patient. I used to say on average 5-7 years before the first blooms. I bought one with blooms on it so I could say I beat the average—it didn't bloom again for several years. Once they do begin to bloom after they are planted, they should do so every year, and they are well worth the wait. Ignore them for another year or so, and hopefully they will give you a show.
I have a Mandevilla in a pot which got quite tall and is still blooming on a trellis. I have heard you say that they need to be cut to release them from trellis before moving them indoors. Does that mean I should do the same or cut back more because it is in a pot? I will be storing it in the garage for the winter. Does it need light and water throughout the winter?
Typically mandevilla vines are quite prolific during the growing season. Many plants, even those grown in containers, are usually entwined in a fence or trellis of some sort, so cutting is necessary to release them to make the move indoors. Cut as little as possible when you move them, since there will be some natural decline in the garage. Unless your garage is warm, they need very little care for the winter months. The goal is to keep them from freezing, not keep them actively growing. They won’t look perky when you move them back outdoors next spring, but prune them hard then, repot, water and fertilizer and they should rebound.
I planted August Beauty gardenias in May. I have them on the north side of my house. The leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I have watered them every other day. They look like they are dying. Please help. I saw a vine that is called Hardenbergia violacea--- Happy Wanderer--- Purple vine Lilac. Will it grow in Hot Springs Village? Does it take over like wisteria or Honeysuckle. If it is a good plant, where can I find it? It is very pretty.
What is the drainage like where your gardenias are planted? How much sunlight are they receiving? On the north side, I would suspect very little. Gardenias don’t like wet feet, so overwatering could be a possibility. Stress from this summer could be causing some yellowing, but overall I think it is water related. Hardenbergia is not winter hardy in Arkansas. I have never seen it in the states, but did see a beautiful vine in New Zealand a few years ago—you are right, it is very pretty.
I have two climbing hydrangeas on my fence. They have developed beautifully, but they have yet to bloom. This will be the third summer for them. What can I do to get them to bloom?
Unfortunately the key is patience. Climbing hydrangeas can take their time getting established and even longer to begin blooming, but the wait is worth the effort. Once they begin to bloom (anywhere from 3-7 years) they do so annually. Continue to water and fertilize and enjoy the foliage for now and hopefully you will be rewarded with blooms either this year or next.
What shrub would you recommend as a hedge in the Cammack Village area? I'd like to create a living screen to hide a shed & work area in the backyard. The shed sits at the back of the property which is fairly narrow & deep like a rectangle. What vine would you recommend to use for a small arbor which located just out the back door of the house on the same property?
Is the area shaded where the hedge will be planted? If so here are some good choices: wax myrtle, illicium (Florida anise), cherry laurel and Sweet bay magnolia--this last one is not evergreen. In sunny conditions you can use Little Gem magnolia, one of the hollies- Foster, Yaupon, Lusterleaf, Nelly R. Stevens; or eleagnus. For the vine, you could use a mix: trumpet honeysuckle, clematis, akebia and some annual vines: moon flower morning-glory, cypress vine and hyacinth bean.
What is the best way to eradicate poison ivy. I have lots of it. I have a woodland area right next to a spring-fed pond. It’s 20 feet up in the trees and all over the wooded areas. I don’t want to poison my pond with any herbicide. Short of clear cutting is there anything I can do?
Poison ivy is a tough weed to kill. If you have heard the latest statistics, they say that with global warming the plants have actually become more toxic! If you can get to the poison ivy before fall color kicks in, you can spot spray with either a glyphosate product (Round-up) or a brush killer. Follow label directions and direct the spray as much as possible to the poison ivy, avoiding spraying to the point of runoff.
This is in response to one of your newspaper questions on July 10. I have the same problem with trumpet vine sprouting all over my yard from one plant I have trellised. Is there any way to stop it from sprouting from the roots that have spread underground through the yard around it without having to kill the entire plant? I would like to keep the main plant, if possible, and stop it from sprouting. Is there any way?
Unfortunately, that is the nature of the beast. If you were to use chemicals to kill the sprouts, and they are attached to your main plant, you could do damage to both. The best way is to cut off the sprouts slightly below the soil surface and mulch. This won't prevent future sprouting, but can help in management.
The ivy in my yard is starting to die. Not in one spot but all over the yard. I have had other people in Dumas state they have experienced the same problem. What do you think is the problem?
Ivy was one of those die-hard plants that were rarely plagued with anything, but the past few years we have seen some diseases and insects on it. One of the main ones seems to appear in heavier soils with some drainage issues--hard to believe it could be happening this season, unless you really watered. Investigate a little. Do you see any spots on the leaves? If you dig up one of the plants that are dying, are the roots white and full, or small, dark and slimy to the touch? Do you see anything on the stems or backs of the leaves? You can take a sample in to your local extension office and they can send it to our plant clinic. You have to first pinpoint if it is disease or insect before we can recommend a spray program.