Progress made in kudzu war in Norman Wilder Forest

Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jan. 28, 2011: Kudzu at the site before any physical removal efforts began. (photo submitted)

Since Feb. 7, 2011, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) “Kudzu Warriors,” a group of volunteers, have been meeting every other Monday for a two-hour effort to eradicate the non-native and invasive kudzu (Pueraria lobata) taking over the native flora of the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest off Hwy. 176 in the Pacolet Valley.
According to the group, there has been a huge improvement in the area where kudzu and thick, massive mats of kudzu vines have been removed. In fact, after removing the mat of kudzu in one area, the group was greeted in the spring of 2011 by Sweet Betsy Trillium, Solomon’s Seal and Jack-in-the-pulpit (to name a few), which had been waiting in the soil for the opportunity to emerge from the ground.

The same site, a year later (Feb. 20, 2012), after the PAC “Kudzu Warriors” have removed mats of Kudzu vine and other non-native invasives from the site. (photo submitted)

Initially, the vines were loaded into a trailer and hauled to the dump. However, because of the enormous amount of old kudzu vines at the site, the Kudzu Warriors have decided to pile up the vines and leave much of it to decompose naturally, providing nitrogen to the soil and providing shelter for animals in the meantime.
There have also been efforts to eradicate other non-native and invasive plants on the property, such as tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) and princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa), as well as some of the poison ivy from along the trail edge.
Several trailers full of tree-of-heaven have been hauled away, but many of the trees are going to be left in piles to decompose on site.
For more information or to get involved, call PAC at 828-859-5060, e-mail or visit the website at:
– article submitted by Pam Torlina

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