Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is a formidable foe because of its vigor, and because it can reproduce so many ways. Birds eat the seeds and spread them about, and the plants spread by developing shoots that sprout from low stems and roots. Simply cutting back the plant often stimulates the growth of new stems and root suckers. To kill a mature plant, you cut back all top growth, then treat the stumps with a brush-killer herbicide. Use caution near desirable plants such as the lilac. Stray herbicide could severely damage or kill the plants you'd like to save. Repeat this procedure in late summer to eliminate new bittersweet that sprouts from the old roots.