How much do vines actually harm tree health?

I’m looking to make my land produce more food for wildlife, primarily deer. I’ve read that one way to help oak trees be more productive is to cut off any vines growing on them. Obviously, this makes sense - less competition for canopy space, water, etc.

But is it worth the effort to go around and cut every single grapevine and Virginia creeper on my nut trees? I might gain 10% more acorns someday, but is it worth the loss in biodiversity / alternate food sources?


10% increase in acorn production? Id take that any day for cutting some Virginia creeper. Deer don’t eat VC here, so that’s a no brainer for me. If you don’t want to loose diversity, plant some apples, pears, and persimmons and increase your soft mast. Deer will flock from miles away for ripe persimmons.


I’ve seen several trees that were taken down just by the sheer weight of vines. Oftentimes this is invasive things like oriental bittersweet, but a large grapevine can do the same thing. However, if your ultimate goal is wildlife food you need to balance the value of the grapes to birds with the acorns for deer. I personally try to remove vines from most large and majestic trees, trees which I would be sad to lose.


Here in WV. Grape vines can over grow many forest trees shading the canopy ,breaking out the top.
I usually try to kill most grape vines.
I leave some that are productive of grapes or are on a tree that has little other value. Some wild grapes are no doubt a good food source for many animals ,mostly birds.
Cutting them mid summer usually sets them back the most, but often easier to find in winter. Either way they usually grow back in 10- 20 years
Virginia creeper I see as less of a problem. It usually does not over grow the tree tops , mostly staying on the trunk and branches below the tree leafs Of big trees.
Virginia creeper is a very good source of nectar / pollen for many beneficial insects , berries for birds.
I usually keep Virginia creeper.


Both Virginia creeper and poison ivy are native vines that are important food sources for birds. The most aggressive vines are typically invasive Asian species and some of them (like Chinese wisteria) can pull a tree over if the vine gets big enough

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Alternative perspective - plant cuttings of known cultivars of grapes to replace the natives. That way you can enjoy the harvest and increase your productivity while the birds can still help with the harvest. That’s a win - win in my book, unless you are going purely for nut production.

Went out this morning , heard what sounded like a swarm of bees…
On closer inspection, it was a Virginia creeper vine growing up a locust tree trunk… that was buzzing with activity because it was in bloom. Not honey bees , but dozens of different kinds of no doubt beneficial insects having a feast. Could be heard from 50 feet away. Few things around here in West Virginia cause such a frenzy. Basswood , sour wood , Black locust , are a few others that can be heard from a distance.
I like Virginia creeper, or at least it’s worth keeping.