Morning glory (Ipomoea lacunosa) is a flowering vine that is native to the eastern and southeastern United States. On the East Coast and in the South, it’s a well-loved and beautiful part of well-tended gardens.
But on the West Coast, it’s an invasive, pesky weed. When I moved into my new house, the yard was infested with morning glories.
Why Wild Morning Glory Is A Problem
Morning glory can, like other vine plants, choke out and kill the plants that you actually want to cultivate. It also grows very quickly; the plant’s creepers will take over an entire corner of your garden in just a few days.
When I moved into my house, morning glories had spread from our shared driveway, where everything grows wild, into an area of about 500 square feet in my garden. They would probably have spread over my entire yard if we hadn’t intervened.
How To Get Rid Of Morning Glory
The only way to eradicate morning glory—apart from herbicides, which we never recommend—is to make sure that none of the vines remain in your garden. That means you have to pull up every last vine of the stuff because it will come back quickly.
Getting rid of morning glory is a long-term project. You’ll need to fight several battles to get rid of the vine. The good news is that you can keep up on your morning glory eradication when you’re doing other garden chores, like deadheading, watering or trimming.
Before you start pulling, take a thorough look around your garden. Morning glory loves any vertical structure, so look over every side of a fence, lattice or hedge. Inspect any area where you’ve seen the vines from top to bottom.
The Tools For Eradication
All you’ll need to get rid of the morning glories in your garden is your gloves and a trowel. You also might want to wear a shirt with sleeves, because you’ll be going deep into the brush to get rid of their vines.
To kill a morning glory plant, you have to pull out the full vine. Trimming the vine from a plant it’s started to attack won’t do the trick: It will grow back quickly. To pull the vine, you’ll need to follow the vine back to its root and pull it from there.
The vines can get big. I’ve pulled morning glory vines that were more than 20 feet long. Be very gentle with the vine until you’re ready to pull the whole thing out; broken segments can quickly establish their own root systems.
Three Steps To Rid Your Garden Of Morning Glory
- When you find the root, gently disentangle the vine from the plant that it’s started to wind around.
- When you’ve successfully isolated the vine, let it rip. The broken vine will smell, oddly enough, like Pine Sol.
- Pull the whole thing out, and make sure that the whole root comes out with it. The vines can grow underground for a few feet, so make sure that you’ve dug to the original source of the plant.
And keep an eye on the area where you’ve pulled the morning glory vines. They will come back faster than you think: We pulled all the vines from the infested corner of our yard, only to have new vines start to bloom about a week later.
Morning glory is hardy and quick-growing, so eradicating it from your yard is a long-term project. It can be frustrating, but with persistence and vigilance, you’ll be able to easily get this pesky invader out of your yard.