Talking kudzu

Published 12:00 pm Friday, June 19, 2020

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County commissioners speak about plans

COLUMBUS—Polk County Commissioners spoke this week with John Vining, retired cooperative extension director, about plans for eradicating kudzu.

Commissioners met Monday and heard from Vining about a kudzu eradication board and different forms of treatment.

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Vining reviewed options for eradicating kudzu, including details on chemicals. He also reviewed goats and showed before and after pictures of what goats did a few years ago on a 2-acre lot owned by the Town of Tryon.

Vining said kudzu is not a one-time fix all, saying that every property is different.

He said a quart of chemicals will treat about an acre and a half and is $189.

On goats, Vining explained that the treatment has to be done over seasons and there has to be a guard dog to protect them from coyotes.

“They can manage it but it can’t be done in one season,” Vining said of goats.

He also said 10 goats are needed per acre, so the Tryon lot adjacent to the IGA took 20 goats.

Commissioners discussed the creation of a board, with commissioner Ray Gasperson saying he would volunteer to serve on it once it is created.

The board is proposed to be 11 members, including one county commissioner; one citizen from each of the 3 towns; one citizen from each of the 6 townships and 1 at-large member.

The board is also proposed to have 1 non-voting member from different groups such as Conserving Carolina, FENCE, the Saluda Community Land Trust, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Forest Service and the Polk County Appearance Commission.

Objectives of the board will be to determine the magnitude of the problem of kudzu in the county and to create a map of every known patch of kudzu; to identify smaller patches that can be easily controlled with modest efforts; to develop creative ways for local leaders to help private citizens rid their property of kudzu; to purchase a trailer sprayer that taxpayers could rent along with a policy for the sprayer lease/loan program; to identify kudzu problems on town and county-owned properties and to develop a calendar and plan for eradication; to create a kudzu eradication fund for citizens to contribute for the eradication of kudzu to include potential grant funding; to create and provide educational materials to help citizens and to create partnerships with non-profits currently working on kudzu eradication.

“Polk County government, the City of Saluda, towns of Columbus and Tryon and Polk County Schools all have kudzu problems on some of their property,” Vining said. “It is critical that these areas should be cleared of this noxious weed.”