Dodder is an orange colored parasitic vine that will choke the life out of many garden plants. If you don’t kill plant dodder, it will kill your plants. Dodder is an orange vine that has no leaves, only tiny seed pod berries. The vine attaches itself to any plant available then disengages itself from the soil and lives entirely off the water and nutrients of its host plant. Dodder is such a greedy and aggressive parasite, it will attach itself to two different host plants at the same time and drain the life from both hosts simultaneously.
How to Kill Dodder
Breaking the vine strands in an attempt to remove it from the host plant will only make dodder stronger; the parasite will form a new plant at each vine-break point. Killing dodder requires drastic measures – digging up the parasite’s host plant and destroying it.
Dodder produces tiny white flowers in the summer with fruit-shaped seeds pods forming after the flowers fade. The plant drops its seeds and they over-winter in the soil or inside the host plant. When spring arrives, the seeds germinate and the fast growing vine begins wrapping its orange tentacles in a counterclockwise grip around any host plant it can reach. The parasitic plant looses its attachment to the soil and becomes totally dependant upon the host plant for support, that’s why it so stubbornly refuses to let go of its meal ticket.
To kill dodder, the infested host plant must be dug up and destroyed. Nothing can be planted in that location for several years, as viable dodder seeds can remain hidden in the soil for years waiting for a host plant before germinating.
If the landscape location is one which you do not want to let it remain dormant for years, remove the soil to the depth of 18 inches and at least 2 feet in each direction from where the host plant’s roots were and replace with new soil. Plant as desired in the new soil, but keep a vigilant eye on the soil for any signs of sprouting dodder. Do not re-use the old soil for gardening or growing any type of vegetation.
Wash clothing, shoes and disinfect gardening tools after working around infested plants or soil to prevent spreading dodder to other parts of your landscape.