Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kudzu - Oh Kudzu, How do I Get Rid of Thee?

It's time for Outdoor Wednesday! A special thanks to Susan of A Southern Daydreamer for inviting us to join in this fun weekly event. Click on over to her site to visit the other participants for this week!
I have a problem... It has reared it's ugly head in my very own back yard! It is called Kudzu. I am new to the South and a year ago was very ignorant of the damage this lovely vine can do to an area in a relatively short amount of time. Those of you who know what it is, are probably shaking your head in laughter right now - glad that it is me with this problem, and not you.
For those of you who don't know what Kudzu is, let me show you a few pictures of what we in the South see on a daily basis as we drive down the road. It is everywhere here!!

I found this great website put out by Jack Anthony. He has some amazing pictures to share on his site and tells of the history of this plant. During the Great Depression, kudzu was promoted for erosion control here in Georgia. Little did they know that it would soon become uncontrollable. It can be quite lovely, but very destructive if left to it's own devices. During the winter months when the vegetation dies off - you can really see the damaged areas as it seems to kill all other growth in it's path.
This is an old abandoned cabin - completely covered by this vine!

This picture is small, but it shows two large tractors - completely engulfed!

This picture is of a huge crane - left in the path of this creeping vine. For more great images - go visit John Anthony's site.

As we sit on our back deck - looking out at our beautiful trees in the back yard, slowly but surely we started to notice what we thought was just ivy, but know now it is something much worse. Kudzu has come to pay us a visit!!

This picture was taken last Fall - I loved the colors of the vine as it trailed up this tree! It is the red vine that you see trailing up a dead tree. It was relatively small and harmless then. Little did I know what I was up against!

This is what it looks like today! The same tree - and this seemed to grow overnight! If left to it's own devices, I am sure it will overtake all of my poor trees by summer's end.

Pretty, but no - I don't want it! Go away little vine!

This is hard to photograph, but here is another tree that it has attached itself to. There are about five trees that have been overtaken by this vine - I asked the neighbors innocently if they had to do something about it early in the season - and they laughingly said "yes"! Oops - who knew! I guess I am showing my Washingtonian roots again. I need to get into the swing of living in a whole different "Jungle" climate - I guess.
We are afraid that we will need to cut these trees down. It is hard to tell - but our property drops down into a steep ravine which is what these trees come out of. To try to cut the vines at the root now - when everything is thick with vegetation, is daunting.
I welcome any ideas from those who have had to deal with this "lovely" plant! Oh - and pick yourselves up off of the floor and stop laughing! ~Big Grin~
I am off to look at all of your beautifully landscaped backyards.
One day - my backyard will get there.....~Big Sigh~


Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer said...

Happy Outdoor Wednesday Kymber! We don't have much of it near my house (yet)...but it is a menace! Thanks for sharing your photos.~ Susan

stefanie said...

that is amazing, i cannot believe a plant can do that. thanks for sharing, i learned something new.

Mary said...

You've really captured its growth habit. It really is a menace. Your pictures of it are wonderful. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Beginner said...

With the plant that is eating the South, with a possibility of a foot a day growth pattern, there is nothing much to be done. I was at a craft fair once, where a woman had baskets that she had woven from kudzu vines for sale. Here is an interesting website on the subject:

As Barney would say: "Nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud". It will grow up something as small as a guy wire. That is why you see so many telephone poles in the South covered by kudzu.

Good luck in your battle!

Mary said...

Is it possible to cut it at the ground where it starts up the tree?
Then you can put straight brush killer..not diluted..on the cut surface. Ask your local county extension agent what to use. Good luck!!
Happy OW!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely if well trimmed but nnnnnooooooooooooooooooo I don't want to be invaded with kudzu! :-)

Happy Outdoor Wednesday!


Kathy said...

Yikes! What are you going to do?? It looked beautiful in the Fall, but somewhat invasive this Summer. Well, enjoy the green anyway. Blessings Kymber.

The Muse said...

No time like the present to fight the enemy!