Morningglories – Crepe myrtles

Q: Last spring I planted morning glory seed heavily at the foot of my trellis. This summer the vines on the trellis were more than two feet thick. There were lots of beautiful flowers and the anoles, skinks, and tree frogs loved living in the tangle. When I took down the dead vines, thousands of seeds fell to the ground. I have crape myrtles nearby. If morningglories start climbing the crape myrtles will they kill them?

A: Second only to passionvine, morningglory was the bane of my childhood. I spent hours hoeing them out of my family’s garden. I have good news, bad news and good news. The good news is that not all of those thousands of seeds will germinate next spring. The bad news is that they will germinate over the next five years, some portion of them each year. In this regard, gardeners refer to a “seed bank” in the soil that keeps producing weeds even though you think you’ve pulled up all of the “deposits”. But the final good news is that annual vines do not harm trees. They climb rapidly but the first frost kills them to the ground each year. Pull up all but a few of the morningglory seedlings in May and enjoy the flowers when they appear.

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