Summer is a good time to catch this high maintenance weed in your yard and deal with it before it gets out of hand. It is called Dog Strangling Vine and it may be found in your garden. Homeowners with ravine properties should be on the lookout for it.
Dog Strangling Vine is a perennial, twining vine that can grow 3 to 6 feet in height with the help of your shrubs and trees. Leaves are oval with a pointed tip, 3 to 5 inches long, and grow on opposite sides of the stem. It has pink to dark purple star-shaped flowers. The plant produces bean-shaped seed pods 2 to 4 inches long that open to release feathery white seeds in late summer. Without the help of other plants it is aggressive enough to twine around itself and create a rope to reach higher plants and trees.
When it first starts to grow it seems pretty innocuous and sometimes blends in so nicely that you may not even realize it is a weed.
Here is a picture of Dog Strangling Vine growing on a trellis in a front yard. I am pretty sure the homeowners don’t know what it is!
But it is an extremely invasive species that lives up to its name and literally strangles other plants. It is a flowering plant that is part of the milkweed family and it produces long narrow pods in late summer, opening in the fall.
It is very important to remove this weed before its pods open. Once these pods open they will release hundreds of seeds each. The seeds, if not removed before they open, will reseed in your garden and grow throughout your plants next summer. Pulling this stubborn plant out is easier the first year of its growth but it is still challenging to get the whole root out.
The most important thing is to cut off the pods before they open, put them in a garbage bag and dispose of them in the garbage NOT compost. The challenge with these types of invasive weeds is that you have no control with what blows in from your neighbors or from ravine property. The best you can do is diligently prevent what lands in your yard from spreading seeds further.
If you have questions or concerns about this weed or any other invasive plant you can visit the Ontario Invasive Plant Council website or call their Hotline at 1-800-563-7711