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August 6, 2011 — An invasion of parasitic dodder might make you think a can of silly string exploded. Mike McGrath explains how to handle this ruthless – and rootless – weed. Plus a new lawn herbicide that’s killing trees. And your fabulous phone calls.
There is a weird thread-like thing creeping over and growing into the stems of our English ivy groundcover that we have identified as a parasitic plant known as dodder or hellbine. It looks as if someone has thrown a yellow fishing net over our ivy, and the ‘net’ grows back very fast when it’s removed. An Extension Bulletin from the University of Florida seems to say that all we can do is cut the ivy off close to the ground, and hope that the ivy grows back but not the dodder. Do you know anything better? And I haven’t found any reference to its existence this far north. Should I be reporting it to somebody? It would wreak havoc with a cash crop! Get the answer »