John McDonald

Blogging about politics, life, and the web

A good time to pull the weeds

January 28th, 2010

Potato vines! Have you seen these guys?  They call ’em potato vines, but I call them the biggest pest since mosquitoes.  Not only do these vines manage to grow eight inches a day when they’ve got full sunlight, but they also make sure to wrap around and strangle all kinds of natural fauna, food crops, and trees. They tie themselves tightly to the branches and trunks of existing plants, and they’ll even shoot runners straight through the established plants leaves in order to shred them up.

Yeah, left alone, they can take down a tree.

Anyway, Florida has the pleasure of being filled with these things, and as a gift they drop a bunch of poisonous potato looking things that will turn into new root structures and vine sprouts as soon as the weather turns warm again.

Well, we’re not going to just sit around and watch that happen!

We’re just coming out of a bad cold snap here, so most of the more tropical and invasive plants have browned up and wilted down.  Its a great time to yank them out by the roots because they don’t have any kind of strength to fight back.  Of course, this means picking up all the potatoes from the fist-sized ones to the ones that look more like marbles and BBs.  It will obviously be impossible to get all of them, but at least this spring we know that they’ll have no root system to work with and a lot fewer new recruits.

So the sun is out, the weeds are already half-dead of their own accord, and 50 degrees feels warm enough to do some yardwork when its compared to the unusually deep freeze that just settled on us for a week or two.
Have you encountered the dreaded potato vine – or perhaps more importantly, do you have any ideas of how to keep them off my trees, away from the fences, and out of my garden?



  • Will says on: February 1, 2010 at 6:51 pm


    Did you actually get a freeze there? I feel fortunate that I think it is too cold here in Oregon for this invasive species. The photo makes them look like pulling them they might break off and come right back? This seems like a nasty plant.

    About 5 minutes after I published a post on the same subject, I went to look at recent comments and saw yours about the tomatoes you got from your hanging plant. Funny coincidence!

  • John McDonald says on: February 1, 2010 at 11:01 pm


    Yeah, we had like three fronts that brought us down to freezing! There were four days in a row with lows in the low 20s. They’re talking about huge statewide losses in the orange, tomato, and pepper crops.

    As far as the evil potato vine, they are pretty sturdy when they’re still alive. I’m not sure if the runners will root if they’re snapped off the main vine, but I wouldn’t be too surprised… We’ve been trying to get ’em at the root, collect all the potatos, and coordinate a bit with the neighbors to make sure theres no survivors.

    The freeze was pretty deep though, so I’m hoping any roots we couldn’t see are dead by now!

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