The Devil in Disguise

I have met and battled the devil. He's growing in my azaleas.

I've discovered evil in plant form - a vine that's growing in all my outdoor shrubs and greenery, and has even reached up so far that it's in the trees as well. It's killing everything it can wrap it's greedy little stem around.

After some careful research (meaning I've searched all over the Internet) I have discovered the vine to be a variety of Smilax or greenbriar. There are many different kinds, but they all share a few things in common. They have green, waxy leaves; painful thorns that grow all the way to the root; and they are resistant to herbicides. In other words, they are tremendously difficult to kill. I know this from experience, because I thought I killed them last year. I pulled those suckers up by the roots... or so I thought.

What I found this weekend, though, as I was trying to once again uproot this garden nuisance, was that as the vine grows, it creates a bulb in the roots. So even if you pull up the roots of the vine, the bulb stays in the ground because the vine roots wind around the roots of the plants it's killing.

It's devious. It's mean. And it bites.

Did I mention the thorns? Did I mention the thorns grow all the way down the vine to the roots? Did I mention how freakin' painful it is when those thorns stick you through the two pairs of gloves that are supposed to protect your hands and arms as you try to uproot this devil plant? My hands and arms are a scratched-up mess.

I need a yard boy.

Actually, on second thought, I need a yard MAN. No boy could ever win a fight with this monster. It reminds me of the scene in Sleeping Beauty when Prince Charming had to use his trusty sword to slash his way through all those horrible thorny briars to rescue the dozing diva. If it caused the handsome prince all that torment, imagine the havoc it's wreaking on little ole me.

While very hard to kill, some master gardeners have written about ways they've conquered it. I plan to try them all. I've always thought of myself as a nonviolent person. I've even heard it said that I don't have a mean bone in my body. But I would do whatever it took to annihilate this demon vine. Fire, sword, chainsaw, poison... shotgun? Whatever means necessary, I'm in. Unfortunately, the beast may be too much for me to handle.

Maybe what I really need is a priest and some holy water. Is there such a thing as a yard exorcism?


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