Dodder weed (Cuscuta) is an annual parasitic weed that afflicts many plants. This parasitic weed is very dangerous as it devours life out of the host plant.
Dodder weed doesn’t have any normal plant characteristics. It doesn’t have roots, the leaves aren’t green and it lives on other plants’ nutrients.
This is why you need to get rid of this parasitic weed as early as possible. Let’s now look at the ways to get rid of the Dodder weed.
You can’t use normal techniques as this weed is entangled with the host plants. You need to use techniques that better suit this situation.
Can you burn Dodder?
Yes, you can. If the Dodder weed just emerged and it’s just a small patch, burn it down! You can use a propane torch to burn down the plant.
You shouldn’t let the plant go to seed. Torch the dodder weed on dry and sunny days to destroy even the seeds that are present in the soil.
Replace the soil
If the affected area is small you may want to replace the soil. This is great for the long term. You’ll be getting rid of the Dodder seeds in the soil.
Get rid of all the Dodder plant remnants and the host plants. Dispose of the affected soil carefully and replace the soil with sterile soil.
After replacing the soil you can fill the area with plants that the Dodder doesn’t like. Dodder doesn’t thrive on Grasses, Lilies, Legumes, and Crucifers.
Pruning is useful if you want to control the Dodder weed in the early stages. Once there’s a sign keep a close watch on the Dodder-prone area.
If you see Dodder attached to host plants, prune the host plant too. You may need to prune 1/4th of an inch below the attached point.
This is to be done to avoid the regeneration of this parasitic plant. This is effective only when there are 2 or 3 branches of the Dodder weed.
Let the seeds germinate
This is another neat technique. If this parasitic plant has already released its seeds into the soil, you may want all of them to sprout.
Weeds that are visible are easier to destroy. Irrigate the affected area abundantly in the fall and spring to make the seeds germinate.
After all the seeds have germinated you can torch them to death, trust me, it’s extremely satisfying. You can also let them die by themselves (by not letting them find a host).
Using Herbicides to Control Dodder Weed
Many herbicides will probably get rid of the Dodder weed. You need to know that such herbicides will also harm the host plant.
You need to be careful when trying to eliminate this pesky parasite. Let’s see how to get rid of Dodder weed safely.
Will Roundup kill Dodder?
Roundup(Glyphosate) can kill the Dodder weed efficiently. You just need to remember that the right time to apply Glyphosate is when there are no valuable plants present.
Glyphosate will harm useful plants as well. Apply Roundup before planting your plants. Apply this when the Dodder weed is younger and hasn’t been established yet.
Tip: Herbicides work the best on wet plants. Apply Roundup when it just rained or you just irrigated the plant.
Wear a pair of garden gloves. Then put on some cloth gloves. Take concentrated Glyphosate. Dip your fingers into the Glyphosate(Roundup).
Apply this solution carefully onto the Dodder weed stems. Be careful not to touch any part of the host/victim plant.
Get concentrated Glyphosate and dilute it to 50% for our purpose. You should ideally be using a solution that is stronger than the regular Roundup.
I’ve done this previously and it works wonders. Do this on a part of the weed and record the results. If you see the desired results, apply it to the entire weed.
Will Vinegar kill Dodder?
Household vinegar can be effectively used to get rid of the Dodder weeds in your garden. Be careful though, as it can harm your valuable plants too.
You can use the same technique discussed above to spray the weed with Vinegar. This technique is safe for the host plants and works well too.
Using a pre-emergent herbicide is a must especially to tackle such a pesky weed. Pre-emergent herbicide helps to prevent the sprouting of weeds.
Trifluralin is one such herbicide. Spray trifluralin onto the affected area and follow it up with plowing and burning down of the seedlings.
Here are some methods to prevent and control the spread of the pesky Dodder weed.
- Use clean, sterile seeds.
- Solarize the affected soil with 0.05 mm thick white polyethylene sheets.
- Adding Neem cake to the soil in rows.
Any one of the above techniques isn’t enough to tackle the Dodder weed. Pick ones that are doable and combine them for the best results.
What does Dodder look like?
It’s important to identify the plant correctly before acting further. Dodder weed is a plant with leaves that are reduced to scales.
The only visible parts are the string-like stems of the weed. The stems are golden, pink, brown, or orange in color. These stems cling to the foliage of the host plants.
Seedlings lack roots and leaves. They just have thread-like stems.
Happy Gardening 🙂