Old Man’s Beard
Class C Noxious Weed
- Old man’s beard is a deciduous, perennial, climbing vine forming woody stems up to 65.6 feet (20 meters) long.
- Native to Europe, Asia and Northern Africa.
- Blankets the ground, shrubs and trees and can cause trees to collapse.
- It can rapidly grow along the ground in thick layers, blocking out light for other plants.
- Flower clusters grow from leaf axils (area where leaf connects to stem) and also at stem tips. 3 to 22 flowers per cluster.
- Flowers do not have petals.
- Sepals, petal-like, white to cream, 4 to 6, about 2 times as long as wide with hairs on both sides.
- Leaves are arranged opposite each other on the stems and are pinnately compound, divided into 5 leaflets.
- Leaflet margins are smooth to somewhat toothed.
- Leaflets have some small hairs on the leaf veins below and no hairs above.
- Stems are climbing, become woody and may have curling to winding leaf stems (petioles).
- Seeds with feathery hairs, each having a stem-like projection, 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long.
- Clusters of seeds can be seen on plants all winter.
- Found in forest lands, forest edges and openings, riparian areas, waste areas, roadsides and coastal and lowland areas.
Reproduction and Spread
- Reproduces by seed and can spread vegetatively by stem fragmentation.
- An estimated 17,000 viable seeds are produced per 0.5 square meters in areas where it is a canopy species.
- Seedlings can be hand pulled.
- Larger stems need to be cut and removed from the area.
Imazapyr, picloram, and glyphosate appear promising.
- Glyphosate (e.g., Roundup Pro, Aquamaster, any many other products) can be sprayed on the leaves of actively growing plants. It is most effective on new growth in the spring after cutting back to waist height in the winter, or it can be applied undiluted to freshly cut stems from late spring to fall. Follow the product label’s rate recommendations for brush and vine control.
- Triclopyr, amine formulation (e.g. Brush‐B‐Gon, Garlon 3A, Renovate), can be applied to foliage and stems any time old man’s beard is actively growing. Triclopyr can also be used on freshly cut stems when the plant is actively growing, except in early spring (see label for concentration to use for this method, typically a 50% solution mixed with water).