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Kudzu control measures for the fall

FOOTHILLS—As kudzu continues to spread around the area, property owners should begin treating the invasive species in the fall, at least 2 weeks prior to the first frost. 

Kudzu, or the scientific name of Pueraria lobata is a deciduous woody vine that may reach 35-100 feet in length. Small, lavender flowers may appear from June-September and flattened pods mature from September-January. 

Kudzu is non-native, originally introduced in the U.S. from Asia in the late 1800s for erosion control and livestock forage. 

According to North Carolina State University, mature patches of kudzu can be difficult to contain and control. 

“Kudzu can be controlled with glyphosate but it may take several years of follow-up treatments to achieve eradication,” states the university’s information. “Although there are stronger herbicides available, they may not be appropriate for use in the home landscape.” 

Information to control kudzu includes that homeowners can mow or weed-eat ground level patches during the growing season so that root crowns are visible. People can then allow vines to re-sprout and spot-spray the ground level foliage at the root using a 10 percent solution or painting the entire node with undiluted glyphosate concentrate (53.8 percent preferably) to see if that will inflict more damage to the large root. 

Polk County Appearance Commission Chairman Joe Cooper said from his research, there are 3 different ways to control kudzu. One way is by using goats and cattle to graze the area, which can be effective but requires fencing and protecting the livestock for many years. 

The second way for control is by mowing and digging, which can be effective with several years of repeated work. The Kudzu Warriors use the mowing and digging method currently in the Norman Wilder Forest. 

The third method is by spraying it with herbicides. This method also needs 3-5 years. 

General weed killers with glyphosate may be used to kill kudzu, according to Cooper. Another class of herbicides may also be used, including Transline or Lontrel with Clopyralid, which will kill kudzu and broadleaf plants, including legumes, but do not kill most types of trees or other plants. 

“Care should be taken to prevent runoff into streams,” Cooper said. “Chemical spraying should be done in early fall at least 2 weeks before the first frost.” 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners is considering appointing a kudzu committee and has discussed controlling kudzu on county property. 

For more information about controlling kudzu, people can visit local links, including 

http://www.wachng.org/Plants/index.shtml; https://conservingcarolina.org/our-impact/education/eradicating-kudzu/;

http://fohcg.org/invasives/ and https://www.se-eppc.org/manual/kudzu.html

Following is a list of local contractors who handle kudzu control: 

  • Mow For Dough 828-447-5242
  • Vic’s Lawn Service: 864-978-5298
  • Jackson Grading: 828-429-9798 
  • 4 Seasons Tree Care: 828-582-0138 
  • Jay’s Lawn Service: 828-894-7078
  • Forestry Unlimited: 864-706-1495
  • Home Shiners: 828-817-5888
  • Customscapes: 864-913-9782
  • Wilson Landscaping: 828-817-0828