Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual
Common Name: Kudzu
Scientific Name: Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.
This aggressive vine can grow 60 feet per year forming a continuous blanket of foliage. This massive covering often chokes out competing native vegetation that provides food and habitat for native animals. The result is a large-scale alteration of biotic communities. Kudzu is also a problem in forest agriculture and landscaping. It belongs to the Fabaceae (Pea or Bean) family.
Kudzu grows well under a wide range of environmental conditions, although greatest growth is achieved where winters are mild (40-60°F), summer temperatures rise above 80°F, and rainfall is abundant (101+ cm [39 in]). Kudzu can grow in nearly any type of soil (e.g., acid soils, lime soils, lowlands with high water tables, and over heavy subsoil), and where winter soil temperatures remain above -25°F. Large roots allow plants to survive in fairly dry climates and drought conditions. Ideal conditions are moist to well drained and acid to neutral soils (4.5-7.0 pH). New growth may exceed one foot per day . Forest edges or disturbed areas, such as abandoned fields and roadsides, are preferred habitats. Kudzu can persist on the floor of a closed canopy forest; the vines grow up trees toward light and take advantage of any openings.
Grubbing: Using a pulaski or similar digging tool, remove the entire plant, including the taproot. Removed vegetation should be destroyed by burning or bagging. Because many roots exceed 1.8 m, eradication by this method is very difficult and should be considered primarily for small initial incursions.
Cutting: Vines and runners are chopped just above the ground level, and the pieces destroyed. Early in the season, cutting is repeated at two-week intervals, to weaken the crown and prevent resumption of photosynthesis. Later in the season, when the stored energy in the taproot has been reduced, the interval between cuttings can be extended. Cutting does not typically kill roots and should only be used to control the spread of kudzu.
Cut Stump Method: Use this method in areas where vines are established within or around non-target plants or where vines have grown into the canopy.
Glyphosate: Cut the stem 5 cm (2 in) above ground level. Immediately apply a 25% solution of glyphosate and water to the cross-section of the stem. This procedure is effective at temperatures as low as 40°F, and may require a subsequent foliar application of glyphosate.
Triclopyr: Cut the stem 5 cm (2 in) above ground level. Immediately apply a 25% solution of triclopyr and water to the cross-section of the stem. This procedure remains effective at low temperatures (<60°F) as long as the ground is not frozen. A subsequent foliar application may be necessary to control new seedlings.
Foliar Spray Method: Use this method to control large populations. It may be necessary to precede foliar applications with stump treatments to reduce the risk of damaging non-target species. After the stems and leaves have been brought under control (i.e., all above ground portions of the plants have been effectively treated) further treatment should follow the Root Crown Method.
Glyphosate: Apply a 2% concentration of glyphosate and water plus a 0.5% non-ionic surfactant to thoroughly wet all foliage. Do not apply so heavily that herbicide will drip off leaves. Glyphosate is a non-selective systemic herbicide that may kill non-target partially-sprayed plants. Ambient air temperature should be above 65°F.
Triclopyr: Apply a 2% concentration of triclopyr and water to thoroughly wet all foliage. Do not apply so heavily that herbicide will drip off leaves. A 0.5% concentration of a non-ionic surfactant is recommended in order to penetrate leaf cuticle. Ambient air temperature should be above 65°F.
Root Crown Method: Follow the young or resprouting stem of the plant to the root. Dig and cut into the root crown using a pulaski or similar tool. Apply a 50% glyphosate solution or 50% triclopyr solution to the main root crown and any below ground runners.
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