'Dog-strangling vine' invades west Quebec

A killer weed that makes the soil uninhabitable for other plants has invaded the village of Chelsea, Que., and is starting to creep into Gatineau Park.

A killer weed that makes the soil uninhabitable for other plants has invaded the village of Chelsea, Que., and is starting to creep into Gatineau Park.

Local resident and gardener Colleen Wallace is sounding the alarm about dog-strangling vine, a plant from Europe that doesn't actually strangle dogs, but does kill the plants around it.

The vine changes the pH of the soil, making it hostile for other plants.

"It's a frightening plant simply because of its invasiveness and it will spoil gardens," Wallace said Tuesday, as she walked along Highway 5, pulling up long, leafy stems of the vine that have filled roadside ditches.

She added that if she were considering buying a house and saw the vine, she wouldn't go through with the purchase.

She wants Environment Canada to take charge and get rid of the weed.

Rachel Deslauriers, a spokeswoman for the municipality of Chelsea, is asking local residents to watch for the plant do their part to remove the plant while it is still small.

"At the start, it's fairly easy to control," she said.

Wallace said in West Quebec, there is nothing that eats the plant, and cutting the adult plant only spreads its seeds.

Deslauriers said the municipality has money in its budget to identify all types of invasive plants by 2010.