Swallowwort War Stories

Swallowwort of either species is notoriously hard to eliminate: many have tried, few have succeeded. At a public meeting on the subject on Block Island, it was suggested that an exchange of “war stories” about black swallowwort would be valuable both for passing along practical suggestions but also for general morale, to know that we’re each not alone in our frustration over this plant.

To post a swallowwort war story, or to respond to someone else’s, comment on this post.

This entry was posted in Invasives, Plants, Resources. Bookmark the permalink.

5 comments on Swallowwort War Stories

  1. I’ve tried both Roundup’s ready-to-use retail formulation in August and the swallowwort just laughs. No visible affect at all. I’ve also tried Ortho’s Brush-B-Gon mixed per label instructions, also in August, and the leaves die back slowly but the plant eventually resprouts and soon looks as if nothing had ever happened. This is in my hay field and at least Brush-B-Gon doesn’t kill the grass around the swallowwort. I’ve tried pulling and digging the plants up, as they are isolated, but pulling is useless and even with digging with a spade, I’ve have never succeeded in getting all the roots. It resprouts small and by the next summer is as large as before.

  2. Mary Dennis

    my most recent research suggested frequent mowing just as the pods are beginning to form.
    pod picking patrols and staying out of infested areas when seeds are actively dispersing
    Pods start to ripen in July and disperse late August through the fall

  3. Roundup does not affect the plant enough to control. Cutting and pulling merely encourages the plant. Our successful experience treating this with “bloody glove” and Glyphosate/Triclopyr mix (with specific surfactants) has shown that 4 times a year for 3 years will eradicate completely. Bloody Glove allows targeted treatment with little or no collateral damage.

  4. Dave, Thanks for the idea. So what’s the difference between wiping the plant with an herbicide-dipped glove versus spraying it? Is it the wiping that breaks up the surface tension caused by the leaves’ waxy surface? When I felt that the waxy leaves must be causing the problem, I tried “mortifying” my plants first by whacking or whipping them sharply and repeatedly with a bamboo plant stake to bruise the leaves and hopefully let in the herbicide and THEN using brush-b-gone. But that didn’t work. That includes triclopyr but not glyphosate so it must be the combo of herbicides or the specific surfactants or both. Yes, the glove method would also be good for not leaving “burn marks” all over the field.

  5. Frances Toppping

    The comments seem to refer to isolated plants for using a glove but will mowing repeatedly do it? A town owned property in Charlestown is totally infested with it in one field and it is moving into the other and across the road into the horse farm and residences and hedge. It has been mowed this year but this also mows the milkweed and butterfly weed that grow there. Any suggestions welcome although I don’t know about other resources to fund a consistent project. It is a hardy pest!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *