How To Kill Trumpet Vine

Campsis radicans is the Trumpet Vine.  It is a vigorous grower in many parts of the United States.

This woody vine is quite lovely and the flowers are very attractive to butterflies. This wild and luxuriant vine can become quite invasive in ideal settings.

Orange-red Campsis grandiflora trumpet vine flowers in the garden
Bright Colored Campsis Flower | Olivia-DepositPhotos

In this article, we share tips on keeping your Trumpet Vine under control and on eliminating it if needs be.

Keeping Your Trumpet Vine under Control

If you don’t have a Trumpet Vine now, you should plan before thinking about getting one. To keep it under control, it is best kept as a container plant.

Some gardeners believe the trumpet vine can grow “controlled” in a submerged container.  This makes the plant appear as if it is growing directly in your garden. This is a risky proposition.

If a single root or tendril escapes the container, the plant can soon run rampant.

Do you already have a Trumpet Vine planted in your garden?

You may be able to keep it under control by digging a trench around it every spring.

The moat should be about a foot wide and a foot deep. It should circle the plant about three feet away from the main stalk all the way around.

You can curb your plant’s growth with frequent pruning. Snip or mow shoots when they appear in unwanted areas. This will not kill the plant, but it will at least provide the illusion of some measure of control.

5 Potential Ways To Kill A Trumpet Vine

If you and your Trumpet Vine have a hate/hate relationship, you may want to kill it. Like getting rid of Poison Ivy, this is not an easy matter! Trumpet Vine spreads fast through an extensive root system.

No matter what you do, you may find that far-flung roots are very likely to spring up in surprising places.

Here are five techniques you can try, together or combined to do away with your Trumpet Vine.

Spray The Leaves With A White Vinegar Solution 

To use the vinegar method:

  • Mix white vinegar and water half-and-half in a spray bottle.
  • Cut back as much of the vine as you can
  • Spray what’s left of the vine and leaves with your vinegar mixture.

It’s best if you do this on a bright, hot, still, sunny day. The bright sunlight helps the vinegar to kill the leaves. Be careful when spraying this mixture because it will kill anything it touches.

Dig Up All Of The Roots 

If you want to kill the plant, you’ll need to remove the roots completely. This may be an impossible task.

Any tiny part of the root left behind will start growing a new plant.

After you remove all of the roots, you may see baby Trumpet Vine springing from the ground. When this happens, you must pull them up and dig up as much of the root as you can find.

Poison The Stump

Chop the vine down to ground level and apply undiluted glyphosate herbicide to the stump. Paint it on rather than spraying it.

Avoid overspray of herbicides in your garden. If you apply an herbicide on a windy day with a sprayer, you can do a great deal of damage to your favored plants.

Repeated herbicide applications painted directly onto the stump can kill the roots. As with all other methods of killing Trumpet Vine, you must be diligent.

Apply the herbicide frequently and check all around for signs of new growth.

Throw Boiling Water On It!

To avoid using chemicals, try scalding your Trumpet Vine with boiling water.

The Boiling Water Method

  • Cut the vine back to the ground
  • Drench the soil to a distance of three feet all the way around the plant with boiling water.
  • This method will take a lot of boiling water
  • It needs to be done quickly, so be prepared!

You want to be safe and careful. Don’t toss the boiling water! Pour it slowly at ground level. This will help keep it as hot as possible and will avoid waste and danger.

As with the other methods, boiling water control is not guaranteed.

You will need to keep checking for shoots springing up in unexpected places. When you find them, you can yank them up, dig them up and/or douse them with chemicals, vinegar or boiling water.

Salt The Earth 

If you hate your Trumpet Vines, you can mix a cup of rock salt in with each gallon of boiling water. This method is discouraged!

Salting the earth is a practice maligned since biblical times. As with herbicides and vinegar, salt does not discriminate.

It will kill any plants it comes in contact with, and it will ruin the soil for quite a while to come. Even so, your Trumpet Vine can escape the treatment since it has already have sent roots far away!

Trumpet Creeper: Cautions

Be Committed To Get Rid Of Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine is persistent, so you have to be persistent too. You can use one or a combination of all of the above methods. Realize that none of the methods will be effective unless you stay focused.

You must keep checking back and applying one measure or another to fight off the Trumpet Vine.

No matter what methods you choose, be sure to stay safe.

When handling dangerous materials, such as boiling water and chemicals, wear eye protection, gloves, protective shoes, long sleeves and pants.

Work carefully, and only apply the treatments to the targeted plant.

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