climbing vine or weed?

(Question)

Hi, we moved into our new house in February. Since spring we have been watching a vine grow (well) in our flower bed. At first we thought it was a clematis, but we doubt this now. It has just sprouted small white flowers. Is this a friend or foe? Thank you.

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(Answer)

 

Thank you for contacting the Toronto master gardeners with your inquiry. It appears that your vine is Clematis vitalba, also commonly referred to as traveller’s joy. As it’s name implies this  perennial clematis is an aggressively spreading woody vine that can grow 20-30 meters long and can completely blanket trees and other plants. Creamy white flowers in summer are followed by feathery seed heads in late summer and early fall.  These fluffy seed heads are persistent and quite conspicuous in the winter.

Similar to other invasive vines, this clematis when left to it’s own devices can cover trees and bushes thus preventing photosynthesis which will weaken and eventually kill the supporting trees and bushes. The airborne seeds allow this vine to spread quickly to new locations. Also, damaged or cut stems can re-sprout so plants can spread vegetatively as well.

The following articles gives detailed information on the control of this invasive vine www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/old-mans-beard.aspx

www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=157