Let’s Talk About DSV

By Ted Farnworth

As a regular of the “Friday morning  group,” I have become accustomed to the routine. We all work for one and half to two hours and then enjoy a coffee break. Actually it should be called a coffee and cookie break as there are always several tins of tempting goodies – both home-made and store bought. The gathering starts with announcements and updates, and then turns to a wide range of garden-related and non-related topics.

This past week, while we were squeezed down to one end of the table, the topic of tools to combat DSV came up. It was obvious that many people had given this subject much thought – DSV being a common preoccupation for just about anyone who helps out at the garden. Tony said that he was mulling over some sort of tool he could make that would cut the roots sufficiently to kill the plant. Lynn mentioned that a friend of hers had found a garden tool that she thought would be useful. Lynn continued and wondered whether a dandelion digger would work.

It was agreed that mincing the roots appeared to be one way of killing the plant, but getting the root crown out was probably most important. Whether a dandelion digger would do this or not was questioned. I wondered out loud if the stem of the emerging plant would be thick enough to allow the digger to pull up the root ball. I offered to bring in our digger next time to see if it worked.

So the next day, I am in the back of my yard after the rain had stopped and saw something that made my heart skip a beat or two. There was my dreaded enemy. Actually quite a large patch of my enemy – DSV! Now that I have taken such an interest in DSV, there was no doubt what it was. How it got there I don’t know. But here was my chance to try out the dandelion digger method on DSV control.

We bought the digger a few years ago at Canadian Tire and it has done wonders on the dandelion population in our yard. It works best after a good rain. If you are lucky, the whole root, sometimes almost half an arm’s length, can be pulled from the ground. The key part of the digger is the movable jaws at the bottom that close in on the dandelion and allow you to pull it out without breaking the root.

digger and pulled DSV

digger and pulled DSV

The question was: would it work on DSV? Here is what I found.

For just about all of the DSV plants I tried it on – small and some a good size, the digger was able to clamp onto the root ball and pull it entirely out. Because the root ball starts out small and is close to the surface, the jaws have enough to pull on to get the entire root ball out. It was quick and easy, and the amount of soil disturbed around the DSV plant was small. Yes the soil was nice and wet so the root came out easily, and yes most of the plants were still small, but it appears that this dandelion digger may be a good weapon to add to our DSV arsenal.

So the mid-morning break can be more than just a time to relax, socialize, chat, and eat cookies.

jaws of digger

jaws of digger

DSV pulled with digger

DSV pulled with digger


3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About DSV

  1. The EXTRACTOR! I’m looking forward to trying it.
    The hand tool recommended by Sarah Dehler is simply a steel rod with a 2cm-wide forked tongue at the business end. There are 3 of them among the hand tools.

  2. I am most interested in finding out if you discovered the cause of the crop circle gaps that are mentioned in the article from July 7, 2012 Crop circle gap patterns in Dog-strangling Vine. Here in Barrie we have discovered a patch of this villainous vine in our lovely meadow bordering Lackies Bush. This Sunday, a group of volunteers will attempt to do battle with the dog-strangling vine. As we are all newbies at tackling this vine any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. At this point our patch is fairly manageable and I’m optimistic that we can win this battle against the dog-strangling vine. Wish us luck. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. I did read about the use of the dandelion weed digger. Thanks so much. Wishing you success with your continue fight with dsv. Jean Wilson, Brereton Field Naturalist Club, Barrie, Ontario

    • Hi Jean, Sorry to take so long to reply. I confess I haven’t been monitoring comments on our blog.
      WRT the “crop circles,” we managed to interest Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada in this phenomenon this year, which led to some scientists visiting us and collecting soil samples. Unfortunately we still don’t have the results. Last I heard the scientists were returning to collect DSV roots.
      Needless to say, we are eagerly awaiting any news that will help us battle this horrible weed. If you’d like to contact us at fletcher@ofnc.ca, I will put you on our newsletter mailing list as any good news about DSV will go into it. I would love to hear more about your control efforts. Is your patch small enough to dig up? Have you checked the surrounding area for seedlings? At the very least, can you make sure that none of the existing plants releases seeds?
      Best of luck in your efforts!!

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