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Did You Know?

A few facts:

  • Can grow up to 6 inches in a day
  • Highly invasive
  • Used medicinally

How to get rid of Mile-A-Minute:

  • Treat with herbicides
  • Remove mechanically
  • Use weevils as biocontrol agent

Information by Rakesh Chandran, Ph.D., WVU Extension Weed Science Specialist

Catching Up with Mile-A-Minute

Have you ever heard of a plant that can grow more than six inches in a day during peak periods of growth? Mile-a-minute (Persicaria perforliata) is an invasive weed that belongs to the smartweed family (Polygonaceae) native to eastern Asia. It was introduced to North America in the 1930s to 1940s, unintentionally.

This pest is usually seen along stream banks, disturbed sites, roadsides and rights-of-ways and can displace native plant communities. It also can be a concern in tree plantations, orchards, natural forests and wildlife habitats.

Mile-a-minute is a summer annual that can grow more than 20 feet during a single growing season. A single plant can produce thousands of seeds that can survive for up to six years in the soil. Seeds are dispersed by wildlife, traffic and sometimes, water. In its native range, it is used as a medicinal plant where herbal preparations are used for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, along with other benefits.

Mile-a-minute Identification

Mile-a-minute is characterized by dull green triangular leaves (deltoid-shaped) with sharp corners. The leaf stalks and stem have tiny barbs or spines that are pointed backward. Nodes possess distinct saucer-shaped, sheath-like structures that circle the entire stem.

Controls for Mile-a-minute

Mile-a-minute is usually managed by physical or mechanical methods, such as hand-weeding and mowing. Such methods are more effective during early stages of plant growth before it begins to vine excessively. Selective herbicides containing triclopyr (Turflon, Garlon, Remedy) or 2,4-D + triclopyr (Crossbow) provide effective control of this weed. A non-selective herbicide, such as glyphosate (Roundup), will also control this weed. Due to its waxy cuticle, a surfactant added to the tank-mixture will improve herbicide uptake by the leaves.

Mile-a-minute can be effectively managed by a specialist weevil (Rhinoncomimus latipes), a biocontrol agent that can lay eggs specifically on this weed and feed on it without harming other plant species.

Small populations can be eradicated by resorting to mechanical or chemical methods, however, established populations of invasive mile-a-minute are best managed by using an integrated pest management (IPM) approach that includes a biological control method.

Author: Rakesh Chandran, WVU Extension Weed Science Specialist
Last Reviewed: July 2019

Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by West Virginia University Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your county Cooperative Extension agent.