Source reader Bob Austin asked the Answer Desk how to get rid of two pesky vines that grow all across the territory. Unless he’s prepared to continually whack away at the yellow Love Vine and pink Mexican Coral Vine, there isn’t much hope for getting rid of it.
“It’s a battle of wills,” Carlos Robles, the acting district supervisor at the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service, said.
Spraying high-nitrogen fertilizer on Love Vine also kills it, but it kills the plants underneath and around it too, he said.
Vigilance is the key to keeping it at bay, but Robles said the seeds that drop on the ground send out shoots that are initially transparent so it’s hard to see them before the vine starts to cover the plant. Love Vine is parasitic, so eventually the plant it’s covering will die.
Love Vine has several names, including Devil’s Hair and Dodder, Robles said.
Mexican Coral Vine has pinkish flowers. It’s not parasitic, but it grows so densely that it blocks the sun from the plant underneath it.
“It will kill the plant,” Robles said.
He said you can keep cutting back Mexican Coral Vine at the base to eventually get rid of it.
“It has tubers that are in the ground, and as long as the tubers have food, it will grow,” Robles said.
He also said homeowners can use herbicide to kill it.
If Austin has these vines in his yard, Robles said all his efforts may go for naught because the vines can spread from his neighbors or a nearby forest.
As for the vines growing on plants along the roadways, Robles said it was up to the Public Works Department to develop an eradication program.