Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Response of pale swallowwort (Vincetoxicum rossicum) to multiple years of mowing.

Abstract

Pale swallowwort (Vincetoxicum rossicum), as well as its congener, black swallowwort (Vincetoxicum nigrum), is a European viny milkweed that has become invasive in natural areas and perennial cropping systems in the northeastern and midwestern United States and southeastern Canada. Mechanical control over 1 to 2 yr has not been effective, but studies of a longer duration are needed. We measured effects of mowing (no mowing or three or six times per growing season) on stem and root crown densities, percent cover, and follicle (seed pod) production of V. rossicum and percent cover of other vegetation over a 7-yr period. Stem density, root crown density, and percent cover of V. rossicum were reduced after 3 to 5 yr of mowing regardless of mowing frequency. Cover of other, mostly nonnative, broadleaf species increased. Follicle production was eliminated in all years of the study. In our environment, mowing three times at monthly intervals during the growing season can prevent seed production. However, mowing must occur for at least 3 yr to reduce, but not eliminate, stands of V. rossicum.