Mother Vine struggling to survive

She seems to be improving, but she's not out of the woods yet:

A power company contractor removing brush from power poles in late May had accidentally sprayed the most famous planting along North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Wilson pruned dead leaves and vines, only to watch the weedkiller outrace him, pumping poison from the ends of the vine toward the roots. The culprit was Garlon 3A, a Dow Chemical product. "A very nasty herbicide," said Wilson's 57-year-old son, John Wilson IV.

Nasty indeed. Triclopyr was designed to travel through a plant's system quickly, so it's a good bet some of the poison made it to the root system. But the signs are good:

All the out-of-town experts pruned more of the vine. They dosed it with fast-release fertilizer. They thinned the dense canopy to let in more light. And they watered.

For the next few weeks, Jack Wilson continued to nurture the plant. He watered the roots and coaxed along new green shoots. He didn't want to lose the Mother Vine on his watch, not after 53 years.

Last week, Wilson and his wife, Estelle, 80, crouched low under the sturdy wooden arbor that supports the vine's canopy. They got a good look at the gnarled roots, some thick as steel cables. They saw fresh shoots and new tendrils tumbling down.

"I think she's going to make it," Jack said.

I was going to get into the dangers associated with climbing the chemical ladder in order to stay ahead of plants' "developed resistance" to herbicides, but I'll give the Mother Vine more time to recover. I don't want to upset her in her weakened condidtion.

And before you say it, you're just assuming she doesn't read BlueNC. :)