By Paul Schnare

Saturday, August 9, 2003


Dodder is a plant parasite.  It overwinters in soils.  As a host plant begins to emerge in the spring, dodder enters the host plant through the roots.  Dodder grows inside the host plant as the host plant grows.  At maturity, dodder tissue exits the host plant and forms long white tendrils that wrap around the outside of the host plant and anything else that its tendrils come in contact. 


The tendrils of dodder are white in color.  This means that they have no chlorophyll in them.  Chlorophyll, a green pigment, is the receptor of the sun’s rays.  It is found at the site in green plants where many of the essential sugars, proteins, and fats are produced.  Since dodder has no chlorophyll of its own, it must rely on other plants to produce the nutrients that it needs to survive.


Dodder can be controlled by the removal of any potential host plant from the infested site.  In addition, the application of any preemergent for crabgrass, early in the spring will also help control this plant parasite.