Cyphostemma juttae (Wild Grape) is a slow-growing, deciduous, succulent shrub that can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, but is usually seen much…
Wild grape vines are aggressive growers and can quickly become unmanageable in a garden setting. They are also a nuisance in orchards or in commercial tree farms where they interfere with the growth and harvest of the timber crop. Grape vines may also grow thickly enough to smother out saplings, flowers and other small plants, and wild grape vines steal sunlight and nutrients from nearby trees. Getting rid of wild grape vines requires patience and determination.
Cut the grape vine about 4 or 5 feet above the ground. Do not attempt to pull a grape vine out of a tree, since you may damage the tree or injure yourself. Also, the shade cast from the grape's foliage will help prevent the stump from resprouting. Use a hand saw or pruning shears to sever wild grape vines. Using a chainsaw is dangerous, since the grape vines are too small and unstable.
Cut the grape vine again just above the ground. Cut every wild grape vine you can find, no matter how small they are. Grape vines can regenerate quickly and easily. Remove the trunk of the grape vine and burn or shred it.
Grub out as much of the root as you can with a shovel or other digging tool. Grape vines have deep, extensive root systems, and you will not be able to dig out all of it.
Maintain a thick canopy in forested settings. Grape vines do no thrive in heavy shade.
Mix a natural weed killer by combining 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 pound of salt and 1 tbsp. of liquid soap. Spray this on any grape vine sprouts that re-emerge. This natural herbicide will kill other plants, too, not just grape vines and weeds, so apply it carefully. The vinegar-salt solution will keep for several months.
Apply a commercial herbicide. You may be able to "paint" the herbicide directly on the grape vine stump or sprout with an old paintbrush so that you do not unintentionally kill other plants or introduce large amounts of chemical into the environment. Always follow all package instructions when using synthetic herbicides.
Consider leaving the wild grape vines growing where they are. Grape vines are native to the eastern part of North America, and more than 80 species of birds rely on wild grape vines for food and shelter. You can also make juice, jelly or wine with the fruit.
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IMPORTANT: A similar plant named Menispermum canadense (common moonseed) is poisonous. Click here for more. (Grape vine leaves taste like grapes.)
The wild grape vine is truly a vining plant this means it has no solid, upright trunk. This climbing, multi-stemmed vine can grow so well it can totally envelop bushes and trees. Although the wild grape vine is also known as the riverbank grape, it grows well in locations other than riverbanks. There are dozens of species of wild grapes found growing throughout the world. All are perennial, woody vines that are deciduous. Grape vines grow thicker and higher than most other native vines.
The wild grape vine climbs very well due to forking tendrils. (These are narrow branches that grasp by coiling themselves around anything they can.) Grape tendrils most often are found growing from a stalk opposite from a leaf. Most grape vines produce deeply lobed leaves similar to the cultivated grape. Wild grapes grow in pyramidal, hanging bunches and are blackish, dark blue or purple.
Tiny white flowers in elongated clusters grow up to 10 cm in length. They bloom in early summer, after which tiny clusters of hard, green grapes develop. In late summer these grapes ripen. Wild grape vine flowers are hermaphrodite and are insect pollinated.
The leaves can grow up to 15cm (6") long and 10cm (4") across they alternate along the stems. The leaves are cordate or orbicular in overall shape, and palmately lobed (often only three lobes are clearly visible). The leaves can grow up to 15cm (6") long and 12cm (4") across they alternate along the stems. Leaves are shallowly to deeply lobed with (usually) 3 major lobes and a broad gap between the 2 basal lobes. Edges are hairy and sharply toothed. Young leaves are often shiny. As it matures they become green. Leaf stalks are up to 10cm (3") long, often reddish, and variously hairy or smooth.
Grape vines can reach heights of 17 metres.
Wild grape vines grow in many locations such as along roadsides, fence rows, forest edges and along river banks. They are also sometimes found in hardwood forests, growing up along with the trees after logging, fire, or a windfall as they cannot reproduce in the shade.
The ripe grape can be eaten but tastes better after the first frost. They are not that large so eating them as a trail snack is suggested. Making juice from these is a great way to benefit from their goodness and the grapes freeze well so they can be used for juice throughout the winter. The leaves are also edible. They can be eaten in a salad (they have a tangy citrusy taste) or cooked. Throughout the Mediterranean, grape leaves are stuffed with rice, meat and spices. These are known as Dolma and there is also Warak Enab. The leaves can be blanched and frozen for use throughout the winter months.
While you can eat the young tender greens raw in salads or as a steamed leafy vegetable, most larger types or those harvested later in the season are not as palatable and can have a tough fibrous texture and astringent taste.
Depending on the time of year and plant location, the leaves can become rather thick and chewy, especially when exposed to direct sunlight for a good portion of the day.
Wild grape leaves contain a significant amount of tannin content that is best when broken down via a pickling or fermentation process. This produces a soft tender, tangy and subtly sweet leaf that can be used as wraps for food fillings. This technique also, in our opinion, makes them more digestible so their polyphenols and other phytonutrients can be nutritionally utilized.
The fresh leaves are often employed for their tannin content when making homemade lacto-fermented pickled vegetables, like green beans or cucumber, to give them a crunchy texture.
Tannins are polyphenols that are also found in other drinks and foods including cacao, rhubarb, olives, berries, pau d'arco, coffee, wine and black or green tea.
It is possible to naturally ferment grape leaves without the use of heat or canning methods. We use a lacto-fermentation process which pickles the leaves via the action of lactic acid bacteria. These strains of beneficial bacteria convert the sugar and starch content into lactic acid, which acts as a preservative as well as a pickling agent. This helps to also boost enzyme levels and friendly microflora as well as reduce astringent qualities.
Lacto-fermentation is achieved in much the same way as making other cultured vegetables by surrounding the leaves in a saltwater brine solution. When kept at the appropriate temperature between 65-75В°F (18-24В°C), this oxygen-free (anaerobic) environment supports the growth of desirable lactic acid bacteria (LABs) and eliminates pathogenic bacteria and mold contamination.
This liquid includes sea salt, pure filtered water and pickling spices. Adding a small amount of culture starter or probiotic powder can also help activate the growth and development of various LAB strains.