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Getting Rid of Smilax

Updated: May 26

This is a purely Informational and How To post as this is NOT one of our services offered by Heavy Equip LLC**

Meet Smilax, which I promise is nothing to smile about. We talk about Aquatic Weeds often but today I want to highlight this particularly frustrating and quite aggressive weed that you may or may not be dealing with personally and how to remove it.

When we bought our house almost 3 years ago we had these massive, thorny and incredible painful vines surrounding pretty much every fruit tree, bush and valuable plant in our yard. At first we cut them and pulled them out. We were incredibly proud at the end of the end of a day of hard work that seemed fruitful. About two weeks later the vines were hip high again. We were devastated.

Tons of research later and now we know what it is, how to deal with it and are slowly but surely reclaiming our property. Also called Greenbriar, Sarsaparilla and various other pet names, Smilax can climb over 30 feet, has massive underground tubers that can be found 2 feet deep and roots that can send runners over 15 feet long. One of the best ways to get rid of this devil weed is through extraction.

Today while Andrew has been on the jobsite I have been reclaiming the area under one of our Pecan Trees with a pickaxe, being careful to avoid the roots of the tree. It took me about four hours and two wheel barrow trips to the firepit but I finally got all the tubers out of the ground. It's important to get as much of the tubers and root system as possible because any little bit of tuber or root left behind will generate a new plant. This is also why you want to burn everything you pull up which is why you see my lovely pile from today stacked on our burn pile.

Unfortunately, being such an aggressive plant there's a good chance that it will come back eventually but it's much easier to keep in check if you remove the giant tuber system and regularly check for any small vines that may pop up. And remember....burn baby burn.

Fun Fact: Root Beer was created by Early American Settlers using a species of Smilax (Sarsaparilla) and Sassafras roots which is where Root Beer gets its name.

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