AN ENEMY IN DISGUISE

AN ENEMY IN DISGUISE

July 12, 2020 2 By Donald Lawrence Oguda

To the audience, a good story or article is judged by its cover photo. Therefore, a glimpse at this particular article’s feature photo may prompt you, my favorite reader to think that it’s probably a beautiful piece on the best vine for a canopy in 2020. No, It’s not, that’s the deadliest vine ever that should be avoided and eradicated at all cost.

Cuscuta japonica, popularly known Japanese dodder, is a parasitic weed whose interrelation with the other plant species often lead to more complications leading to death and eventual diminishing of its host. Its origin is in Asia and was initially introduced in countries such as United States of America with a belief that it had a medicinal value for spleen, urinary tract, hepatic and psychiatric disorders. Even though no one knows how it got into the African continent, there have been several theories going round explaining how it got here, I will share with you a few stories from anonymous netizens on their thoughts about its entry in a jiff.

C.Japonica is classified under Kingdom Plantae, Subkingdom Tracheobionta and Class Magnoliopsida. It’s the new headache that every farmer across the country talk about every night as they count losses. As promised in the first paragraph, I want to shed light on some of the theories about its entry in the Kenyan Lake Basin. Sometime back, I approached one of the locals who disclosed that it was introduced as an invasive weed to choke the water hyacinth in L. Victoria, he however didn’t disclose much. It might be true or not, personally, I tend to think that he was right thanks to several attempts to completely eradicate the hyacinth from the lake. In the United States, it Japanese dodder was first introduced in research labs, then abolished before being reintroduced to serve the same purpose that it was intended at its first introduction. Has it served its purpose though? Your answer is not as different as mine.

From a far it looks so healthy that my brother from the other side can recommend it as a feed to its cattle oblivious of the colicky symptoms that come after they feed on it. Furthermore, research is underway, like always, to ‘discover’ more about its content, but then before they come up with their lab reports (which of course takes the longest time for approval), there are only two solutions to control it.

1.Spray home Vinegar on the vines
Depending on the source material, the chemical composition of the vinegar (acetic acid and trace chemicals) have a great impact in drying of the Japanese dodder leaves. Let me spare you the complicated chemistry and proceed to the final and most effective solution, which is;


2.Remove the whole dodder manually
Make sure that you leave not even a centimeter on the host plant, and it is most effective when the host plant is uprooted too and burnt together.

Make your fences beautiful again and more yields each planting season by the above methods, you got two options. I wish you had the third one but it seems that the it will be here in 2021. Cheers!

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