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Kentucky Color: Green Beast, though pretty, devours urban forest

Winter Creeper is beautiful, but a killer. Click on Headline for complete column, photo(s)
Next earlier Kentucky Color: How to spot Frost Flowers, review of what they are

By Billy Joe Fudge, Retired District Forester
Kentucky Division of Forestry

What a beautiful urban forest scene along Helen Flatt Drive up on Lindsey Hill. The Crabapples are simply loaded with apples that will be consumed by opportunistic flying fowl as soon as winter freezing and thawing mellows them to the perfect condition. The blue sky, red brick home, evergreen trees, white snow and red crabapples make a perfect South Central Kentucky winter post card.

However, the Green Beast climbing up the defenseless hardwood trees in the center of this photo, although beautiful, is a killer. It is Winter Creeper. It creeps across the ground and attaches itself to the bark of trees and climbs its way higher and higher, damaging the bark every little step of the way. It will make its way to the top where it will eventually rob the tree of the sunshine it must have to feed itself.

If you take notice as you drive around town you will see that Winter Creeper is slowly but surely, inch by inch, tree by tree taking over our urban forest. If you have it on your trees do yourself and your tree a favor by cutting the vine at the base of your tree. Don't just sever the vine, cut a 4 to 6 inch chunk out so it cannot continue to feed itself. After this the Beast will die but you will have to cut the new sprouts each year to prevent their attempts to re-climb your tree.

Yes, Winter Creeper is indeed beautiful but it is also a destructive, consuming beast which must be defeated. Must be defeated

This story was posted on 2010-12-15 09:07:57
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Kentucky Color: Winter Creeper

2010-12-15 - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Lindsey Wilson ST and Helen Flatt DR, Columbia, KY
The deep green Winter Creeper is pretty, Billy Joe Fudge admits, but the Green Beast is a killer. The vine covering the top of the tree above is seen in many places in Columbia. Mr. Fudge thinks it would be prudent to eradicate the plant and save the trees.

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