There's an invasive vine snaking its way through some of P.E.I.'s wooded areas, called oriental bittersweet.

The vine snakes up through the trees, and wraps itself around the branches, eventually squeezing the life out of the tree.

So far, there are just a few known locations on the Island, according to the PEI Invasive Species Council.

One is in Georgetown, where it's taken over about an acre, and there's also a small patch on the experimental farm property in Charlottetown.


If left unchecked, this is the damage inflicted on a tree by oriental bittersweet. (CBC)

"If you have bittersweet on your property, you would remove it, you would pull it, you could dig it up, and then you need to dispose of it properly by putting it in plastic bags, writing 'Invasive' on the bag, and putting it by your garbage bin," advised Beth Hoar, chair of the invasive species council.

"If you have a large population, it's really difficult. You can cut it off and then you're going to have to manage those sprouts on an ongoing basis, like could be for years."

Hoar said gardeners may have brought oriental bittersweet to P.E.I.


Beth Hoar, chair of the PEI Invasive Species Council, says it could take years to remove a large patch of oriental bittersweet. (CBC)

Diana Clark lives next door to the experimental farm, and has been trying to keep the vine from spreading.

"A maple that was about 30 feet high, and it literally spun around the tree and the way that it kills them is that it does two things," she described. "It blocks the light with all the leaves and then it literally strangles the juices — it looked like a cobra — it wrapped around the trunk. It was just terrifying to look at."

An extensive removal of the vine was carried out last year at the experimental farm, with more than a tonne being sent to the local incinerator, according to Agriculture Canada, and a crew has just started work on new growth there.