How to Remove Air Potato
These recommendations are primarily for homeowners and communities that would like to start working in their neighborhood greenspace. For each species we recommend herbicide-free control methods, but have added an herbicide option for some species for those who are comfortable using them. These methods were selected while keeping in mind limiting soil disturbance, reducing herbicide use, and avoiding harm to other species that may be present whether they be other plants/animals. Manual removal is possible for all of them if you have the time. If the infestation is overwhelmingly severe or these tips aren’t proving effective, we suggest you consider qualified professional services.
Air Potato & Chinese Yam
Dioscorea bulbifera – Georgia EPPC Category 3 (minor problem in Georgia)
Dioscorea polystachya – Category 2 (moderate problem in Georgia)
Removing air potato by hand can be very challenging. It is a perennial vine with a tough root and very delicate stems which make it difficult to handpull without breaking it off at the root. Dig out the entire root system with a small shovel or trowel. Shake the excess dirt off the roots and pile the roots and vines in an area where they will dry out and not be in contact with the soil. Be careful not to knock any of the “potatoes” into the dirt where they can start new plants.
Locate the root node.
Loosen the dirt with a shovel or soil knife and pull out the roots.
Be sure to remove the dirt surrounding roots after uprooting.
Bag any roots or vines with “potatoes” on them.
Sever Climbing Vines
This invasive vine favors climbing on shrubs and young trees, creating a web of vines. The best way to remove these climbing vines is with a pair of hand pruners and patience. Unwrap each vine from the woody plant, using the pruners to make the detangling easier, and make a pile on the ground. Be careful not to knock any of the “potatoes” into the dirt where they can start new plants.
Air Potato covering a mulberry sapling.
Using pruners to cut off and detangle vines from the sapling.
The detangled sapling.
“Category” refers to description of invasiveness based on information from the Georgia and North Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council (EPPC) and do not necessarily reflect the severity of invasions in Atlanta specifically. View our Resource “Atlanta’s Top Invasive Plants (A to Z) Expanded List” for more information.
A great opportunity to learn is volunteering with us at a Forest Restoration project. Please view our Calendar of upcoming service projects or consider enrolling in our annual Forest Stewardship training program. For other species removal, also read: How to Remove Our Top 10 Invasive Plants.
If you have any questions about this guide please email firstname.lastname@example.org.