Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wild Grape: A Mixed Blessing

Wild grape vine is not on the Connecticut noxious weed list. It is a native plant and beneficial to birds and other wildlife. What could possibly go wrong?

The problems start when wild grape vines grow out of control. Vines can climb the tallest trees, take over the light in a large area, and kill everything beneath a thick blanket of leaves. Under these circumstances grape vine behaves like an invasive plant and the resulting destruction to vegetation offsets the benefits.

Wild grape at Riverfront Park, Glastonbury, September 2013.
Also note some Japanese Knotweed in bloom in lower right center of picture.
How does it get out of control? Wild grape loves the edges of clearings and if there is one thing man is good at, it is creating clearings whether they are for streets, parking lots, yards, fields, parks, etc. The abundance of light along the edges of clearings creates perfect growing conditions. Trees along the clearing edge provide nature's perfect trellis.

Unfortunately what man is not good at is controlling the consequences of his actions, so wild grape vine can become almost as damaging as invasive plants like oriental bittersweet.

For more information go to Penn State Info