Turf diseases are starting to break out all over lower Hudson valley. One parasite in particular named Dodder has made a sudden appearance this year on home landscapes and municipal environments. Only consisting of yellow twining stems that produce small clusters of white flowers, dodder doesn’t have any leaves or chlorophyll to produce its own food. It survives by attaching itself to a plant, penetrating susceptible tissues, producing specialized absorption structures called haustoria and extracting the carbohydrates.
Dodder is not toxic and it may not hurt any livestock that consumes it. However, it can weaken the host plant to reduce yield, quality and strand. Dodder can become a huge hurdle for many trying to control it, especially cranberry farms. Dodders are annuals and are spread by seed. Seedlings are rootless and leafless. The survival of this seed appears to be variable; it may be able to live in the soil for over 20 years.
Pre-emergence herbicides are currently available for controlling dodder but it would be in your best interest to consult with a certified arborist to get the right treatment. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation.