What can a farmer, forester or simple landowner do to control kudzu? First, you've got to be persistent and be able to rally a team ready for combat. It's not unlike exterminating insects from your apartment or condo: You'll have to get all neighboring landowners to work together to snuff out a kudzu infestation. For your kudzu control program to succeed, each person must faithfully play his or her part.
Here are a few things you'll want to consider:
- Size -- how large the infested area is
- Proximity -- how close the infestation is to the trees, crops or plants you want to keep
- Future -- whether you have plans for the land that's currently infested
- [source: Everest]
On kudzu patches younger than 25 years old, three or four years of frequent and continuous mowing and grazing can keep it in check. In Tennessee, some people are using goats to chow down on kudzu in urban and suburban areas. You'll want to get the support and guidance of your local kudzu control program authority; even simple mowing and grazing methods require that you contain the infested area by cutting large vines and fencing it off.
From there, you may have to burn the land and apply a series of herbicides. The herbicide you choose depends on a number of factors, such as where the kudzu is growing, the size of its root crowns and the soil conditions, to name a few. You should consult your local kudzu control or land use authority before even attempting to buy any herbicide, though: Some of them are so toxic that you'll need a special permit to buy and apply any of the stuff -- they contaminate runoff water, streams, rivers, lakes and crops.
When you contact an expert, he or she will work with you to come up with the best way to address your kudzu problem. You may find yourself spraying tall overgrowth with a pressure hose spewing a fancy weed killer. You and your neighbors could end up driving big farm equipment like crop sprayers and dusting large areas of land that's covered with kudzu. Patience is the key: It may take seven to 10 years of repeated spraying, cutting and chopping to resolve your kudzu infestation.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Associated Press. "Got a drinking problem? Try kudzu." MSNBC.com, May 17, 2005. (July 17, 2009)http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7884540/
- Britton, Kerry. "Kudzu." Invasive Plants of the Eastern U.S. Nov. 3, 2005. (Jan. 25, 2009) http://www.invasive.org/eastern/biocontrol/25Kudzu.html
- Clemson University. "Kudzu Eradication Guidelines." 2003. (Jan. 26, 2009) http://www.clemson.edu/extfor/publications/ec656/
- CFNA. China Agriculture and Forestry Web. Broad Prospects for Green Kudzu Vine Sector. 2003. (Jan. 25, 2009) http://www.agriffchina.com/e-agriffchina/member/mag_detail_detail.jsp?id=50545
- Dharmananda, Subhiti. "Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine." The Lessons of Shennong:The Basis of Chinese Herb Medicine. (Jan. 4, 2009) http://www.itmonline.org/arts/shennong.htm
- Drugsite Trust. "Kudzu." (Jan. 4, 2009) http://www.drugs.com/npp/kudzu.html
- Everest, John W., et al. "Kudzu in Alabama: History, Uses, and Control." Alabama Cooperative Extension System. August, 1999. (Feb. 2, 2009) http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0065/
- Georgia Invasive Species Task Force, Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council. "Invasive Weeds in Georgia: Kudzu." Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual. (Jan. 25, 2009) http://www.se-eppc.org/manual/kudzu.html
- Hanson, Daniel J. State University of New York, Sociology Department. "Kudzu and Alcohol Consumption." (Jan. 25, 2009)http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/healthissues/1127332920.html
- Invasive Species Specialist Group. "Global Invasive Species Database." (July 17, 2009)http://www.issg.org/database/species/search.asp?st=100ss&fr=1&str=&>
- Millar, Bonnie. Duke University. "Invasive Species and Forest Ecosystem Effects." (Feb. 1, 2009) http://www.biology.duke.edu/bio217/2002/bmm10/kudzu.htm
- McKinney, Micheal L., et al. Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions. 2003. (Jan. 31, 2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=cGgeojAN8JcC&pg=PA268&lpg=PA268&dq=kudzu+plant+extinction&source=web&ots=9PNgGMbWGc&sig=O_xRjAr6RB3AfIJAbIEQUe7PN2A&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result
- Planet Botanic Canada. "Kudzu." (Jan. 25, 2009)http://www.planetbotanic.ca/about_pb.htm
- Planet Conservation Alliance. National Park Service. "Least Wanted: Kudzu." (Jan. 25, 2009) http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/pumo1.htm
- RecipeZaar. 2009. (Jan. 26, 2009) http://www.recipezaar.com/recipes.php?s_type=%2Frecipes.php&q=kudzu&Search=Search&Searcht=
- Ruble, Drew. BusinessTN. "Against the Grain." July/August 2008. (Jan. 29, 2009) http://www.businesstn.com/content/200808/against-grain
- University of South Carolina, Upstate. "Kudzu." (Jan. 25, 2009) http://www.uscupstate.edu/academics/arts_sciences/natural_science/herbarium/default.aspx?id=2205
- Shurtleff, William and Aoyagi, Akiko. "The Book of Kudzu: A Culinary and Healing Guide." (Jan. 31, 2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=KMSpPFcli08C&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=import+kudzu+china&source=bl&ots=RgmTYdTJ4S&sig=OMVlkppFTtUpe-Rlon6OFwa8Wcs&hl=en&ei=TI2HSeqGJp3etge-it2iBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=7&ct=result#PPA75,M1
- St. Petersburg Times. "Kudzu pills helped cut binges." May 18, 2005. (Jan. 25, 2009) http://www.sptimes.com/2005/05/18/Worldandnation/Kudzu_pills_helped_cu.shtml
- Time. "The Kudzu Kid." July 4, 1949. (Feb. 1, 2009) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,888578,00.html
- Tseng, Nin-Hai. "Kudzu could be the next biofuel." Atlanta Journal Constitution. June 19, 2008. ( Jan. 29, 2009) http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/06/19/KUDZU_biofuel_ethanol.html
- Wade, Gary. "Look out for Alien Invaders in Georgia Woodlands." Feb. 16, 2006. (Jan. 25, 2009) http://georgiafaces.caes.uga.edu/getstory.cfm?storyid=2770