Wild Cucumber Growing on Trees

Flowering wild cucumber covering a dead spruce tree.

Anyone who has driven down a country road or even on an interstate in Wisconsin recently has likely seen a white-flowered vine creeping up into the trees. While you may be concerned about the fate of the trees, we have good news. The plant in question is the native wild cucumber vine and it doesn’t present a serious threat to most trees or shrubs. It is flourishing this summer with the excess rain, and is prominent right now statewide, but the vine is an annual plant and will die back in fall.

If you have wild cucumber vine on your property and want to attempt to control it, you can cut it off near the ground and the rest will die. Pulling the vine off of trees could cause damage to the trees. The plant can reseed itself. So, next spring when the plants are still small they can be controlled more readily by pulling the small seedlings out at the root. For more information, check out the Wisconsin Master Gardener page: https://wimastergardener.org/article/wild-cucumber-echinocystis-lobata/