NC State Extension Publications


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Greenbriar (Smilax rotundifolia) is a perennial woody vine that often climbs other vegetation. The broad heart-shaped leaves are shiny and have parallel venation and smooth margins. The stems have many sharp prickles along their entire length. Greenbriar can form thickets of vegetation in undisturbed sites, as well as in open landscapes and nursery areas.

Cultural Control

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Perennial broadleaf weeds are capable of living more than two years. Greenbriar is a difficult-to-control vine that often climbs other vegetation.

Chemical Control

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Herbicide and Formulation Amount of Formulation per 1,000 sq ft Amount of Formulation per Acre Pounds Active Ingredient per Acre
Preemergence and Postemergence Control
mesotrione, MOA 27 (4 SC) (Tenacity) 0.092 to 0.183 fl oz 4 to 8 fl oz 0.125 to 0.25
Precaution and Remarks: Use on residential turf, golf courses (not greens) and sod farms for pre- and postemergence weed control. Tolerant turfgrasses include St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Add a nonionic surfactant and repeat application after 2 to 3 weeks for improved postemergence control. Tank mix with prodiamine 65 WG for extended preemergence grassy weed control. Can be applied at seeding to all tolerant grasses except fine fescue. After turf germination, wait 4 weeks or until turf has been mowed twice before making a postemergence application. Also controls henbit, chickweed, dandelion, white clover, Florida betony, Florida pusley, ground ivy, oxalis, wild violet, creeping bentgrass, and yellow nutsedge.
[sulfentrazone + prodiamine], MOA 14 + 3 (4 SC) (Echelon) 0.184 to 0.826 fl oz 0.5 to 2.25 pt 0.25 to 1.125
Precaution and Remarks: For use in residential and institutional lawns, athletic fields, sod farms, golf course fairways and roughs, roadsides, utility right-of-ways, railways, and industrial areas. Apply to turf following a second mowing if a good root system has been established. Apply up to 12 fluid ounces per acre to bentgrass at 0.5 inch or higher, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Apply 18 to 24 fluid ounces per acre to perennial bluegrass, tall fescue, and all warm season grasses except St. Augustinegrass (do not apply) and bermudagrass (apply 18 to 36 fluid ounces per acre). For sod production, apply 6 months after establishment, and do not harvest within 3 months. Do not apply with adjuvants or surfactants. [Sulfentrazone + prodiamine should not be applied to cool-season turf with N-containing fertilizers unless some short-term discoloration is tolerable.​

Species Data

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    • perennial weed
    • smooth
    • has no hairs, but very prominent thorns and prickles
    • heart / kidney / spade / oval / egg-shaped / elliptical
    • 1 to greater than 2 inches
    • parallel
    • alternate
    • fibrous; very "woody"; may also be found with white rhizomes
      Figure 8, Figure 9
    • yellow; yellowish brown
Greenbriar growth habit.

Figure 1. Greenbriar growth habit.

Greenbriar growth habit.

Figure 2. Greenbriar growth habit.

Greenbriar growth habit.

Figure 3. Greenbriar growth habit.

Greenbriar growth habit.

Figure 4. Greenbriar growth habit.

Greenbriar leaflet number.

Figure 5. Greenbriar leaflet number.

Greenbriar leaflet number.

Figure 6. Greenbriar leaflet number.

Greenbriar leaflet number.

Figure 7. Greenbriar leaflet number.

Greenbriar root type.

Figure 8. Greenbriar root type.

Greenbriar root type.

Figure 9. Greenbriar root type.


Extension Specialist (Turfgrass/Forage Crop Weed Mgt)
Crop & Soil Sciences

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Publication date: Nov. 21, 2017

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