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Invasive vine found in Southeast Minnesota, public asked to help control the weed

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) - An invasive vine is spreading along the banks of the Root River in southeastern Minnesota. The Japanese hops infestations were found along the river from Preston to the confluence of the Mississippi River. 

Small infestations have also been found in Winona, but those have been controlled, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Japanese hops are herbaceous, annual vines native to eastern Asia. They can grow up to 35 feet in a single growing season. 

“We don’t know how Japanese hops got to the Root River; but now that it’s here, we need to work together with the public to control this invasive weed,” said Christina Basch, noxious weed specialist at the MDA, in a statement. “Since Japanese hops is a prohibited noxious weed on the state’s eradicate list, it’s important that we find infestations and work to get rid of it.”

These vines smother native vegetation and can grow into trees. Leaves are 2 to 6 inches long and have at least five lobes that are palmately arranged, like a hand with the fingers extended. 

Weed experts with the agency are asking for the public's help in controlling the weed and reporting new finds. 

The invasive plant differs from a similar American hops, a native perennial vine that looks similar. The native vine often has one to five lobes and does not have more than five lobes on the leaves. 

The dispersal of mature Japanese hops seed must be stopped by pulling or cutting the vines at the base or with herbicide treatment. If you find the vine on your property, report it to the MDA's Arrest the Pest line at arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us or 1-888-545-6684.

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