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Invasive, Exotic Plants of the Southeast

Winter Creeper

Winter Creeper

Common Name: Winter Creeper

Scientific Name: Euonymus fortunei

Identification: Winter Creeper is an evergreen climbing woody vine that may reach 40 to 70 feet in height.  The leaves are opposite and oval.  The stem is stout and lime green, light gray, or reddish.  Small greenish-yellow flowers appear from May to July.  Pink capsules, containing one seed, mature from September to November.

Ecology: Winter Creeper is shade tolerant and will form dense ground cover.  The invasive vine colonizes by vine growth and seeds that are spread by birds, small mammals, and water.

Plant Control: Mature stands of Winter Creeper can be difficult to control. Use clippers to sever any vines that have attached themselves to tree trunks. If needed, use a weed-eater to buzz the stand back to ground level. Allow the Winter Creeper to re-sprout during the growing season, then spray the ground level foliage with a 5% solution of glyphosate with surfactant.  If plants continue to re-sprout, try using a 10% solution. Re-treat as needed for complete control.   
 
Alternative Native Species: Strawberrybush (Euonymus americana), Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)

When using herbicides remember to follow label-recommendations.  Any mention of trade, products, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University.

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