Dog Strangling Vine in Chelsea, QC


by admin on July 29, 2009

What is the prolific, noxious weed in Gleneagle, Chelsea, Quebec on Hwy 105 from Montrose Rd South that is strangling all other vegetation, from the ditches up the embankments? Vincetoxicum rossicum,  Dog-Strangling Vine.

Dog-Strangling Vine has been spotted here, along Hwy 105 in Chelsea, Quebec

Dog-Strangling Vine has been spotted here, along Hwy 105 in Chelsea, Quebec

Native to Eurasia, this plant has no natural enemies in Canada. No bee, bird or other wildlife will go near it.  It is a member of the milkweed family and produces dozens of seedpods, each of which is packed with dozens more of seeds that disperse widely on the wind.
Once DSV is established it is hard to get rid of.  It has now spread to many parts of the community.  At the urging of the municipality, residents have done their part by digging it up by the roots wherever they find it on their properties. This is the only way to get rid of it, but is not always feasible.
Many residents however are not aware that DSV is growing in their gardens – so the message needs to be spread more aggressively.  There is information on the Chelsea website and the office has brochures.  The internet has lots of info on it and there is “Chelsean Museletter” by Syl Shawcross available at Freshmart.
So what is Chelsea council doing to control DSV on its own turf, namely the Gleneagle and other major infestations? I’m talking about control here, not elimination. The window of opportunity is closing.  The seedpods are maturing fast and cutting needs to be done immediately.
Mayor Perras told me there was no budget for this but he would look into it.  Isabelle Pitre, Sustainable Development Officer, said she had no budget for cutting it.  Councillor Peter Griffin told me that DSV gets cut every year. Alas, it was not done last year.
From my reckoning, two men with sharp scythes could do the job in a day, bag the refuse and keep it at the Municipal depot on Scott Rd for the October 2nd burning.  Not a major expense, is it?
Are the mayor and council just resting on the laurels of previously won environmental awards?

Christel Paulun lives in Chelsea.