Tuesday, October 14, 2003
ARS Newslink is reporting that scientists at the Agricultural Research Service have found several potential biological controls for the nasty, smelly skunk vine (Paederia foetida) that has invaded the southeastern U.S. At least 600 specimens of the best candidate, a flea beetle (Trachyaphthona sordida), have been shipped to a quarantine facility in Hawaii for further testing (i.e. they want to make sure the beetles don't eat native species as well). You can see a whole list of potential biocontrols for skunk vine in this report, and read the entire skunk vine article in this month's issue of Agricultural Research Magazine. Bonus points to ARS Newslink for using scientific names.
According to the local agriculture extension office in Pasco County, FL the only effective herbicide against skunk vine is garlon-4. Not a great solution because garlon-4 kills everything it contacts.
My only solution was to trace the vine back to its tap roots and carefully remove as much of the tap root as possible. This activity require weekly maintenance for a period of almost two years before the infestation was gone. The roots go fairly deep and are soft so it is impractical to get the entire root in one visit. weekly maintenance eventually starved the root and the vine died.
Kudzu is far easier to eradicate then this hellish pest. Getting rid of skunk vine is a long drawn out process. If not addressed you will find it everywhere.
As an added note, wear gloves. Some people seem to have a mild poison ivy like reaction to the liquid in the vine.
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