Dog Strangling Vine

(Question)

I have dog strangling vine invading my garden. No matter how much I try to pull it out I can’t seem to get rid of  this pesky weed.

Any tips you might have  would be appreciated.

Please help.

(Answer)

Thank you for your inquiry. Dog-Strangling Vine, Vincetoxicum rossicum belongs to the Milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae). It is a perennial, twining vine growing up to 2 m in height, with small pinkish to dark maroon 5-lobed flowers that start to appear in late May to early June. The seedpods begin appearing in late June and are mature by mid to late July. Each pod produces numerous wind-borne silky-haired seeds and each plant can produce up to 28,000 seeds per square meter. The seeds are easily spread by the wind, and new plants can grow from root fragments.

Dog-strangling vine is a plant that is difficult to control, with no single method or combination of methods able to completely eradicate this forest invader.

Gardeners can control this invasive weed by digging it out during its first year of establishment. Make sure to dig up the entire plant, roots and all. Care must be taken as the plant can re-sprout from buds on the rootstock if any are left in the ground. By the second year, manually pulling or digging of the plant becomes more difficult because the roots become stronger and larger. At this stage you should cut (don’t pull) the stem off just below the soil level.

Do not rototill your garden if dog-strangling vine has infested your property. Each root segment can produce a plant. Persistent mowing/cutting before flower and seed set will weaken the plant and may help limit its spread.

It is very important that you do not compost any of the roots, flowers or seedpods since they can resprout in your compost pile. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to rid your property of this invasive weed. Early detection and vigilance before it has a chance to establish itself in your garden will be the key to controlling it.

Here is a  You Tube video from The Toronto Botanical Garden on how to properly remove dog strangling vine.

There are excellent articles on many of Ontario’s Invasive Species including Dog-Strangling Vine with more detailed information at www.invadingspecies.com