This cute little sprig is the beginning stages of a vine that is absolutely some of the worst plants that I have had to deal with. They climb by sending out a node that curls around branches and twigs on trees. We have some that have reached as high as 30′.
The thorns cut like little razor blades and the are strong enough to poke through a pair of jeans and sometimes rip them. I grew up with mesquite, cactus, and cat claw, but none of them compare to this tangled mess. If you try to walk through them they’ll bring you to a screeching stop. You will “screech” in pain after they have riped you to shreds and then “stop” you with shear force or the lack of desire to lose any more blood.
Removal has been accomplished by several techniques; cutting them at the ground and pulling them by wrapping a rope around them and attaching them to my truck, to individually pulling down 2 or 3 at a time by hand. Fortunately, because they wrap around stuff, they typically let loose easier than if they were to root into the host.
In some areas, it is impossible to walk through because the vines are matted so thick. We are hopeful that we’ll find that one tool that could help us hack faster so that we will be able to make a significant impact on this difficult infestation.
Interestingly, we noticed that several of the older trees in the area don’t have any vines at all and sometimes they will be surrounded by trees that do. It appears that the vines were introduced to the area in recent years and the older trees did not have the low lying branches needed for the vermin to climb.
We only worked for a few hours today and made some excellent progress. In doing some extensive research we found that the thorn vine has a natural enemy that will cause the vine to almost seemingly disappear in a short period of time. It attacks the stalks of the plant just above the ground and makes regeneration difficult. It likes to actually eat sections of the vine between the ground and 2 feet up and in most cases pulls the rest of the plant into it’s preferred range of quarters.
The devourus (dee-vow-or-us) fordsonorus (ford-sun-or-us) is of the 2n variety and was introduced in 1947 to end the war against the terrible thornius maximus. It’s natural hard shell is immune to thorn penetration as are the jaws that it utilizes to attack the vine base.
The last part of the day I got the GPS out and was determined to find the western boundary of our place through the brier patch. There is a stretch of 150 yards that is so matted with trees, vines and brush that it makes it impossible to understand where the boundary is.
So I marked point A and point B. Stood at point A on the back corner and put the GPS in “go to” mode towards point B. Armed with Machete and Satellite technology I plunged forward through dense beauty berry and smilax. It took me 20 plus minutes to hack my way through and though I feel like I had conquered the western front, the burning cuts on my legs (through my Dickies Jeans) reminded me all night that it wasn’t a free victory.
Alaina couldn’t see me but could hear me cussin’ and hackin’ at the vines. She lined up with the noise and shot this video as I came through on the B side.
These last few strides was the first time that I had taken more than 3 consecutive steps in the last 100 yards.