How to kill California Dodder Vine? - Knowledgebase Question

Arcadia, Ca
Avatar for shwen8888
Question by shwen8888
July 29, 2010
I found it attached to the ivy on the slope of my backyard. Because of the steepness of the slope, it is very difficult to remove vine and/or ivy. Is there any chemical that can kill the vine? I don't mind it kills the ivy too.

Answer from NGA
July 29, 2010
There is no selective herbicide for dodder so anything that will control the parasitic plant will also kill your ivy. The difficulty will be that dodder seed can remain in the ground for years and will sprout when conditions are right. The second problem is that if you plant something else in the area the dodder will attach itself and thrive, eventually repopulating the area. Research indicates that a dodder plantscan live and grow 5-7 days on its own, but after that period of time must attach itself to a host plant. So, in theory, you can kill all the dodder and ivy with a broadleaf weed killer such as 2,4-D and apply a pre emergent herbicide each spring to keep the seeds from sprouting. As long as you apply Dacthal or other pre emergent on a regular basis, you should be able to keep the dodder from returning.

The concern is that since you have such a steep slope you won't want to completely remove the ivy or you'll have an erosion problem. One way around that is to kill the ivy and dodder, pull it out of the ground, then cover the slope with a weed barrier landscape fabric. You can cut holes in the landscape fabric so you can plant something new.

You might want to contact your local cooperative extension office or noxious weed control board to see if they have other suggestions for controlling the dodder. Contact UC Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County, 4800 E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90022 Phone: (323) 260-2267. There may be local Master Gardener Clinics in Arcadia (check the white pages of your phone book under County listings) or a local Weed Board. Good luck with your landscape.

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