FENCE Kudzu Project update

Published 11:16 am Tuesday, September 6, 2022

If you don’t like the weather here in the Foothills, just wait a minute. Wow, the variables have been as wide as can be. We’ve had upper 90s for highs, 60s for lows with humidity ranging from “dry” and comfortable to wringing wet! Abundant rain in some parts of the county and little if any rain in others, all in a few weeks thus far. 

 

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As with many late summer flowering native plants and trees, our target non-native/invasive weed, Pueraria Montana, or kudzu, is in full bloom right now. It continues to grow well in our Foothills climate, no matter what Mother Nature throws at it. There are 6 distinct test areas within FENCE that have been set aside as test and control projects to learn about Kudzu and at the same time produce small efforts to eradicate this weed from the 300+ acres at this wonderful public playground. 

 

Efforts, made possible in part from grants available from the Polk County Appearance Commission (PCAC) and the FENCE organization and volunteers, have been visible for years as the fight to control this weed continues. 

Many dog walkers and bird watchers have asked me, ”what are you doing?” as I make my rounds to the various test sites, called KETS (Kudzu Experimental Test Sites). Depending on the time of year, the volunteers and I are pulling vines from trees, cutting the vines, digging crowns/roots, spraying the leaves with specific “systemic” herbicides and/or mowing and/or bush hogging the ground creep of kudzu plants. 

During the flowering stage, kudzu is at its most vulnerable stage for control measures. As we discuss the steps involved in the process, locals are always asking if we can educate the public on these activities and teach private landowners to enter the fight against this non-native invasive weed. Keep watching the TDB and the PCAC website for more information on how to join the “Kudzu Warriors” across our county to better understand this threat. For more information on kudzu and other invasives, ways to treat them and local companies who are licensed to help, please visit the Polk County Appearance Commissions website; www.beautifulfoothills.org. 

Submitted by Don Dicey