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How can I eliminate cat’s claw without killing other nearby plants?

Author: Kelly Young
Issue: October, 2017, Page 123
Cat’s claw

Q - Cat’s claw vine is overrunning our house. I have tried trimming it to the ground, but it always comes back. How can I eliminate it without killing other, nearby plants?

A - Cats’ claw (Dolichandra unguis-cati; formerly Macfadyena unuis-cati) is a tenacious vine famous for damaging stucco and climbing where it isn’t welcome. A heat-lover that produces bright yellow flowers, cat’s claw can climb without a trellis thanks to tendrils that are forked and able to grip surfaces. Simply cutting the plant down isn’t enough; it will regrow new shoots from energy reserves stored in underground tubers. The tubers must be completely dug out, thereby eliminating the carbohydrate source that fuels new shoot growth. Be persistent and dig around for tubers anywhere you see new foliage emerging from the soil. If the plant goes dormant during the winter, you must resume efforts next spring, when cat’s claw becomes active again.

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