By Gary Stone, Extension Educator, Panhandle R&E Center, Scottsbluff
Nebraska Extension has been receiving many calls this summer about two weedy vines that have been found in shrubs, trees and fences. If left un-managed, they can smother out shrubs and trees by preventing the tree leaves from photosynthesizing and eventually killing them, especially evergreen trees.
The first is Wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata), also known as balsam apple or mock cucumber. Wild cucumber is a native plant, an annual with a shallow root system that reproduces by seed. The vines are bright light green in color and will attach and climb on anything they can.