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Virginia Creeper  RSS feed

 
K Mortensen
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Anyone have any use for Virginia creeper? It isn't mine, it's my neighbors, but there is a ton of it spilling over the top of one rather long fence line. Personally I would probably prefer to see it gone, but these neighbors aren't much into gardens or yards either, so I doubt they would be bothered to get rid of it.
Dare I use it as mulch or compost? I don't want it to spread. Can chickens or rabbits eat it?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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Not a plant I want to run into. Note the warning in red in this USDA info sheet. If it's high in oxalate, you don't really want to be feeding it to chickens, as too much oxalate can cause kidney problems. But that oxalate will go away if you put it in the compost heap and it gets rained on a few times.
 
K Mortensen
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Did not know about the oxalates. Google isn't proving to be particularly helpful on this, but I guess if chickens decide to take a mouthful here or there they will probably be ok? I saw one source that says cows can eat it. It's rather pretty, but I definitely plan on aggressively trimming it back before fruiting. I do not want my kids tempted by those berries. Fortunately the birds seem to eat them pretty quickly, but they can pick theirs off of the neighbor's side of the fence... As long as they wont root, the trimming should make a nice (dead) ground cover...
 
John Elliott
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K Mortensen wrote: I guess if chickens decide to take a mouthful here or there they will probably be ok? I saw one source that says cows can eat it.


In both those cases, it's a matter of dosage. Picky browsers like chickens (or goats) are not going to get a big dose of oxalate in the course of their usual eating habits. Plus ruminants may have some added defenses that we do not have to break down oxalate. Oxalate is what gives sorrel its tangyness and also why rhubarb leaves are considered "toxic".

It's toxic in large doses, as it builds up and creates kidney stones, which is different from the toxicity of Digitalis or nightshade, which will make you fall over dead quickly.
 
Alex Ames
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Location: Georgia
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It is invasive I will say that for it. If you have it, you have it
but I would recommend against introducing it anywhere it does
not already exist.
 
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