My nemesis, Old Man’s Beard clematis, Clematis vitalba


Jun 24, 2020
Portland, Oregon
Not sure if it’s better to put this here vs. the coop/run design section. Also not sure whether this is an appeal for advice vs. a rant (maybe a little of column A and a little of column B?).

There is a massive, ancient Old Man’s Beard clematis vine that’s rooted on an unoccupied adjacent property to mine that has grown up and over some trees that hang over my chicken run. It drops millions upon millions of its little seeds all over my yard to the point where I essentially have a lawn of little clematis sprouts that I have to pluck out. At the moment it’s of course dropping its leaves and little seed heads all over including into my chicken run (which is covered in bird netting which keeps some of it out but more is able to sprinkle through). According to PoultryDVM’s toxic plant list all parts are toxic (although unclear if it’s fatally so). Of freaking course, my little feathered troublemakers see the leaves in their run and go wild for them and eat them as though they’re candy.

Lately when I go in in the morning to do the breakfast parade and let them out into their run, before I open the hatch to the run I do a quick survey and pick up any fallen clematis leaves I can find. The birds of course immediately find any I missed and snarf them down like they’re poor, starving and neglected birds (they’re really not!).

I guess I’m wondering if people have experienced clematis toxicity in their birds or dealt with similar issues. I was told when we moved here two years ago that the little plot of land in which the vine is rooted is owned by an apartment complex so I’m not even really sure who I could get ahold of about removing it.

Attached is a photo from inside the run looking directly up. All the green leaves there are clematis leaves.
This vine is a scourge throughout the Northwest. This webpage looks helpful:

If I were you I would find out who manages the apartment building, and ask about removing the big Clematis.
Can you just go over there when no ones around and cut it down, or dump bleach on it’s roots or something?

We looked up who owns it a while back and it's some big investor somewhere which is a little discouraging. We'll have to sort out who even to talk to. There's probably some sort of manager or other point person in the apartment we might be able to contact but then I imagine it has to pass through the chain of command before anyone does anything about it. I did file a report on the Oregon Invasives Hotline. Someone's supposed to email me in response to my query and hopefully they can send someone out. I also don't want to be the one to pay for removing the thing because it's not on my property.
Can you just go over there when no ones around and cut it down, or dump bleach on it’s roots or something?

I have semi-thought about that, stealing away in the night with a hacksaw in hand. There's a (albeit rickety and falling apart) fence separating our properties, though. Maybe time to learn how to pole vault? With a saw in hand!
I never knew they were poisonous. It also says theyre bitter so maybe your birds will
quickly learn they are icky?
Clematis take forever to grow, so please don't poison it. :( Can you trim back the portion on your property?

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