Kudzu – A Plant In The Genus Pueraria

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If you live in an area where this vine is active then you know the invasive properties of Kudzu. It grows so fast you can virtually watch it advance before your eyes.

Kudzu is a native of Asia and a woody, perennial vine in the pea family. Kudzu kills or degrades other vegetation by smothering them under a solid blanket of leaves. It completely covers almost everything in its path and in the process sort of creates sculptures. It kills trees by suffocating them by breaking branches or uprooting them by the sheer force of its weight.

Once established, Kudzu grows as much as 60 feet per season, or about 1 foot per day. Each vine may end up being anywhere from 32-100 feet in length and have stems as thick as 4 inches in diameter. Kudzu tap roots are can be 7 inches in diameter and 6 + feet long, and weigh as much as 400 pounds. Furthermore, up to 30 vines can grow from a single root crown.

Kudzu can grow well in a wide range of conditions and in most soil types. Its preferred habitats are forest edges, roadsides, abandoned fields, and disturbed areas where sunlight is abundant. It does best where winters are mild, rainfall of 40 inches per year, and summer temperatures above 80 degrees.

 Kudzu   A Plant In The Genus Pueraria

To successfully control Kudzu, its extensive root system must be destroyed. Mechanical methods include cutting vines just above the ground and destroying all cut material. Close mowing for two growing seasons will help tremendously. A side benefit of kudzu is that in cut form it can be feed to livestock. Pesticides can be used but should be done so wit caution. Contact your local Master Gardener or County Extension Agent for advice.