How to Get Rid of Virginia Creeper

Identifying the Virginia creeper is a challenge. Every year the vine travels across much of the United States and becomes more rampant in drought-prone areas with sunny, dry weather. You’re not alone in your concern. 

Most farmers know it as poison ivy and deal with its close relative negatively. Poison ivy can be found in any environment where the vine could be growing, although it prefers moist soil in a sunny area. 

It grows naturally throughout much of the United States but is generally less invasive than the creeper. The two plants can be found together in the same forest, and people often confuse the two. Virginia creeper does have some bright-colored leaves, hints of red and purple, that are useful for identification. The leaf of poison ivy has three to five leaves.

You may also look for an oval-shaped disk on the end of its tendrils to identify Virginia Creeper. While Virginia Creeper is not poisonous, it can cause an itchy rash, so wear gloves and long sleeves when handling it.

How to get rid of Virginia Creeper in 3 steps

1. Remove Runners

Begin by pulling up the runners and tendrils at the end of the wine, working your way down the vine. This will help prevent the vine from sending out new runners. Make sure you check for any roots Virginia creeper has put down so you can control it.

2. Locate the Parent Plant

To completely remove any Virginia Creeper, you will need to locate the parent plant. When you do, remove the vine growing out of it. This is the plant the Virginia Creeper is parasitic too.

3. Treat with Herbicide

Try to pull up the vines and tendrils again if you missed any, but check the area periodically to make sure you haven’t missed any. It is possible to pull up the vines and tendrils again if you did not see them the first time, but a herbicide may be easier. The herbicide will kill all the Virginia Creepers and any future growth.

What Kills Virginia Creeper

Using herbicides such as glyphosate can have adverse effects on both the grapevine vines and the host shrubs and trees they are growing on. In order to eliminate this seemingly uncontrollable vine using organic means, you must use them. We will be discussing how you can use natural materials to kill a Virginia creeper.


Vine mulching is a particularly effective way to eliminate Virginia Creeper Vine. You must cover the vine’s entire top section with thick layers of mulch to kill it. Bark, newspapers, and leaves are our personal favorites. Keep in mind that you can’t use wood chips or shredded tires, as these contain Petroleum-based compounds. Try to use no more than 10% of the material for mulching.

Rock Salt

Rock salt is a mineral that contains chloride. When mixed with water, it creates a somewhat viscous solution. This will kill the Virginia creeper vine as well as any other weeds. Rock salt is great because it is inexpensive and can be bought from several different sources.

Virginia Creeper: What Is It?

Many people in Northern America unintentionally obtain a Virginia Creeper, or Parthenocissus quinquefolia, as a houseplant. This plant grows naturally on vertical surfaces and is also used as a houseplant because of its prolific growth on vertical surfaces. This creeping vine has smooth, shiny, dark green leaves and yellowish flowers. The Virginia creeper vine also has small black berries that are commonly known as “creeper.”

Are the Roots of the Virginia Creeper Plant Invasive?

Although found in North America, Virginia creeper is considered an invasive species throughout the rest of the world because of its destructive and rapid growth. The Virginia creeper has naturalized in many areas of the world and is considered a weed of major concern in Australia.

Tips on how to get rid of Virginia Creeper vine

  1. Wear gloves and long sleeves, and if possible, use insecticide on the soil. Do not use chemical pesticides, as they can damage the surrounding plants, fish, and animals and will also alter the pH of your soil.
  2. Apply fertilizer to the soil. The higher nitrogen in the soil will help rid the vine of any roots it’s growing through and will prevent future growth.
  3. Remove all wood from the area. This will help prevent new growth and will also kill the plant.
  4. If you have mulch on your soil, try to remove some of it. It will slow down the growth of the vine and deter future growth.
  5. Use a pruning saw, loppers, or even a machete and cut at least 6″ above where it is growing. This should be enough to break off the root as well as sever any leaves or stems attached to the root system.
  6. Apply mulch around and under any plants that get taken over with Virginia Creeper, especially if they are mulched or planted in sandy soil that can’t support their roots or plant nutrients very well.
  7. Instead of spraying a herbicide on the Virginia creeper vine, you should paint it only with a paintbrush to eliminate it from the area.
  8. Consider Drift Roses for a low-maintenance perennial in this situation.

How does Virginia Creeper spread?

Virginia Creeper vines can grow from the roots of other plants that are growing nearby, especially lawns. This combination of having all root types and being in contact with soil will allow it to spread quickly. The Virginia Creeper Vine won’t take over full-grown trees as Virginia Creeper does, so it’s easier to control.

Virginia creeper is present in most eastern North American forests and fields, as well as in garden and backyard plantings. It spreads very quickly when it gets the chance, so it is important to contain and control its growth as soon as possible. It covers large areas of ground and can climb up trees, fences, and walls, which could pose a safety issue for pets, children, and wildlife.

Virginia Creeper or Poison Ivy?

Virginia creeper is often found growing alongside poison ivy, but it’s not the same thing. The creeper is a distinctively shaped vine that grows near the ground. Because it is often confused with poison ivy, it is often touched and inflicted with a rash.

The best way to identify the Virginia creeper is by visual observations. However, with the increased frequency of the infestation, it might be a good idea to look at the underside of the leaves. The Virginia creeper has small pustules, and the underside of the leaves will have a bright yellow color.

Poison Ivy or Virginia Creeper? How to distinguish the difference

Many gardeners and homeowners confuse poison ivy with Virginia Creeper. Why? They both have green vines that produce small leaves that grow at the stem. However, to help you distinguish one from the other, here are some ways to know which is which.

Virginia Creeper has very distinctive stems, which are reddish-purple in color. Poison ivy’s stems are white. Poison ivy vines also have sharp edges, which makes it a little easier to tell them apart. Also, Virginia Creeper’s edges are usually orange or yellow, while poison ivy’s edges are green.

The Virginia Creeper vine is most well known for its five leaflets that resemble the shape of your hand and fingers, except that they are serrated (jagged). As autumn progresses, each leaf will turn scarlet.

It is much more likely to occur in or around trees and brush, but Poison Ivy can be found virtually anywhere in your garden, yard, woods, fields, side of your house, or anywhere else you want to plant Virginia Creeper. While Virginia Creeper is aggressive, Poison Ivy is less so. It is not as aggressive as the Virginia Creeper.

It is definitely good to get rid of Virginia Creeper, regardless if it is in your yard or nearby. Virginia Creeper is considered to be a noxious weed, which means that the Virginia Creeper poses a threat to the public or environmental health and safety.


If you want to know more about Virginia Creeper or have any other questions, feel free to ask! I know poison ivy and Virginia Creeper is not the most desired plants in your garden, but it is important you take care of them. Watching out for Virginia Creeper will definitely help you keep garden-keeping tasks to a minimum.

Thanks for reading this post, and I hope you enjoyed it!