Mile-a-Minute

Mile-a-Minute Project of the Hudson Valley

Mission

The Mile-a-Minute Project of the Hudson Valley was established in 2005 to provide outreach, education and control for the Mile-a-Minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata L., formerly Polygonum perfoliatum L.) to help prevent its spread.

Contact Information

Email: MaMHudsonValley@gmail.com      Phone: 845-786-2701 x 293 or 263

Mile-a-Minute overrunning Native Vegetation
photo: Micheal Adamovic

The Problem

Mile-a-minute is an aggressive, non-native invasive plant that has invaded the Hudson Valley. It grows rapidly–up to 6 inches a day and up to 30 feet in a single year–making it particularly harmful to native species. Its prickly stems and leaves allow it to climb over surrounding vegetation and form dense, tangled mats that shade out and choke underlying vegetation. Wildlife, primarily birds, are the main distributors of seeds. Seeds are also dispersed by water, in contaminated soil and as hitchhikers on clothes, shoes and equipment. Seeds can survive in the soil for 7 years.

Report a Sighting

Because this plant is easily spread by animals, water and humans, it pops up in new places each year. The sooner these new, small colonies are removed, the easier it is to control the plant in the long-term. And we need your help to locate these new colonies!

If you think you have seen Mile-a-Minute vine, please contact us. We will get in touch with you to confirm the identification and implement management measures, if possible.

What you can do if you have mile-a-minute on your land

If berries (seeds) are absent–

  • Pull out plants and roots. Leave the vines in the sun with the roots exposed.

If berries (seeds) are present–

  • Put all plant trimmings and seeds in black plastic bags and let them cook in the sun for 4 weeks before disposal in the collection site. Note: composting the vines and seeds is not advised, because home composting and many facilities do not reach the high temperatures required to kill the seeds.
  • Monitor the site in the fall, pull out new plants, and repeat each year until no new plants are found in the spring and summer.
  • Herbicide is also effective, but use caution around other plants. Follow the instructions on the label and never spray when windy or above 80 degrees F.
  • If you have questions or a large infestion on your property, please call or email the Mile-a-Minute Project or your local Cornell Cooperative Extension Association!

                Caution: do not release seeds in new locations!  Check clothes, shoes  & vehicles for hitchhiking seeds.

Volunteer

The Mile-a-Minute Project organizes hand-pulling events to remove infestations of mile-a-minute vine from various locations throughout the Hudson Valley. In addition to land stewardship, these events are an opportunity to mingle with other conservationists, get some exercise, enjoy the great outdoors and learn about invasive plants. Contact us to get involved!

Mile-a-Minute Leaves & Vine
Photo: Micheal Adamovic

Identification

The Mile-a-Minute vine has a unique combination of traits that make it easy to identify:

  • Traingle-shaped leaves
  • Downward facing barbs or prickles on the vine and undersides of leaves.
  • Ocrea (saucer-shaped leaves) that surround the stem at nodes (branching points).
  • Pale green seeds that turn bright blue in midsummer.

Weevil on M-a-M Leaf
Photo: Michael Adamovic

Biocontrol: The Mile-a-Minute Weevil

Traditional control of Mile-a-Minute vine in the United States involves hand-pulling, mowing, targeted grazing, and herbicide application, each method having its benefits and issues. To successfully manage the plant and limit seed production, these methods must be employed early and often. Mile-a-Minute is an annual vine, and so the roots do not survive the winter. Mile-a-Minute seeds, however, remain viable for many years, and therefore care must be taken to avoid spreading seeds when conducting management via hand-pulling, mowing or targeting grazing. Both the green seeds and the ripe blue seeds are capable of growing.In 2004, a new biocontrol method for Mile-a-Minute was introduced in the United States. This method uses an insect, a 2 millimeter long, stem-boring weevil (Rhinocomimus latipes L.), that is an enemy of the Mile-a-Minute vine. It has shown promising results so far. Weevils can travel up to 10 miles per year, colonizing new patches of Mile-a-Minute on their own. By using the vine to feed and breed, the weevils defoliate and stress the plant, decreasing seed quantity and quality. The weevils are host specific to Mile-a-Minute, meaning they feed exclusively on the plant and will not consume any other vegetation.

Mile-a-Minute Leaf Damaged by Weevils
photo: Michael Adamovic

In 2009, staff from the Mile-a-Minute Project of the Hudson Valley began releasing weevils–several thousand at a time. Release sites have are on public lands (including county and state parklands, DEC State Forest, and Wildlife Management Areas) that are heavily infested with the vine. There are now 9 biocontrol sites scattered across the Hudson Valley that are monitored monthly to determine the effectiveness of the insects. Private landowners may apply for permits to release weevils! Contact us for more information.

Thank you for your help in the fight against invasive plants!

Click here to download the Mile-a-Minute brochure

Helpful Links:

NY invasive species information http://www.nyis.info/

Cornell Cooperative Extension http://cce.cornell.edu/Pages/Default.aspx

University of Delaware’s scientific literature related to mile-a-minute biocontrol
http://canr.udel.edu/biocontrol/mile-a-minute-weed/

Maps and data management system for invasive species sightings across the state of NY:
http://imapinvasives.org/nyimi/map/

The lab that raises the weevils we release:
http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/beneficialinsect.html