A Blog About Kudzu

31 July 2018

 

Sometimes you wonder how things can go sooooo wrong!

Kudzu Covered Trees

 

I give you Kudzu.  Now, some of you know exactly what I am talking about, and some of you do not.  Kudzu is a plant; a green vine that was introduced into the US from Japan at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.  Promoted at the time as “The Wonder Vine”, kudzu was said to grow a mile a minute and promised to grow in the worst of soils and to heal badly eroded land caused by drought, road building and poor farming practices.  It was further discovered that this tenacious plant was a good food for livestock.  In the 1930s the government even paid farmers to plant their fields with kudzu – up to $8.00 per acre.

Today, kudzu is officially an invasive plant on the Federal Noxious Weed list of 1998, and frequently shows up on “Top 10 most invasive plant” lists. The roadside plantings from the 30s have spread far and wide, and anyone traveling on southern highways can see the ghostly outlines of tall trees, telephone poles and abandoned homesteads smothered in green vines.  “The vines that ate the South” are reaching the Northern states too, as far as New York, and spreading west as far as Oregon.

Kudzu was first pointed out to us a few years ago in Virginia, but we have seen it in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida too.  A kudzu covered forest in Virginia is as iconic as the saguaro covered hills in Arizona or the moss filled trees of Louisiana. They all are a visual reminders of where you are, even though the road sometimes seems like an endless track of tar lined with the same gas stations, the same hotels and the same Dairy Queens.  

Kudzu a perfect example of a good idea gone bad, but enterprising folks are coming up with new and interesting ways of using kudzu, and if it tastes better than okra and mustard greens there might eventually be a shortage in the South!  Maybe you can ask a goat, they are being used to weed out kudzu infested areas.  Click on the link to watch: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNT9kv2q85A

 

 

  

Comments

  1. Posted by: George Colvin

    We have seen this as well. Horrible what it is doing. Hope they can stop it .

  2. Posted by: Anne

    One of the articles I’ve read said that the problem looks much worse than it really is (well, it looks REALLY bad, lol) because the Kudzu tends to prefer the edge of the forest where it gets more sun. This is the same area as the roads we travel, so the problem seems bad because the vine is growing in the same areas that we travel in. Nonetheless, I would hate to have a piece of property and have to battle that creepy vine….I’m having enough trouble with crab grass in my back yard!!

  3. Posted by: Ann P

    Btw, North Charleston is in SC, not NC
    ( next April)

  4. Posted by: Anne

    Oh my goodness!!! I’m so sorry! Apologies to North Charleston SOUTH Carolina…..I will get that corrected on future newsletters! Thanks Ann!

  5. Posted by: don plugge

    our grand son out of the navy moved to Boulder Colorado and got a job at a ball field while he goes to college there. He loves Colorado after living in southern Alabama after the navy My brother lived in Littleton for years love your news letter and music…fan don

  6. Posted by: Anne

    Thanks Don, glad to have you as a reader!

  7. Posted by: Russ Ligeikis

    If you stand still long enough, you get to wear a green jacket, even if y’all aren’t all that close to Augusta. On a serious note, it can be used as animal feed and many crafters in the South have begun making Kudzu baskets. While it is theoretically edible, I’m not certain that I’d care to eat any – unless it was maybe smothered in Clemson Blue Cheese and I’d had more than a few beers before eating it.

  8. Posted by: Anne

    Ha Ha! Russ, you are so right about the green jacket, and you are also right about the animal feed- more protein than alfalfa. If the farmers could have found a way to harvest kudzu mechanically, we would probably be using kudzu as our predominant animal food. I heard that someone is making kudzu jelly – does that go with blue cheese and beer?

  9. Posted by: Marsha Kjar

    We have lots of this kudzu all around in the country and we even have some of this south of our property line. I can see it covering trees. I am perplexed that this is not being treated. As we drive through the countryside, it looks very bad in many areas.

  10. Posted by: HotRodCrazyBob

    Woohoo – here along the Wild Rivers Coast we have what others would consider a gift – an invasive plant called Blackberry! You can almost see it’s vines grow as you watch! Blessings y’all

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