Kudzu, also known as Japanese arrowroot, is a type of vine that was introduced to the United States in 1876. The rapid growth potential of the plant was not well-known at the time, but today almost every homeowner in the South knows about the vine’s notorious need to cover everything in its path.
Kudzu grows 150,000 acres every year in the U.S. Over time, trees and plants covered in kudzu can die from not having enough sunlight and being essentially smothered by the plant. For this reason, many homeowners are desperate for ways to rid their homes and yards of this invasive vine.
There are many chemicals that can kill kudzu, though it may take a few applications over time. It is suggested that the homeowner first cut the stems of the kudzu and then apply the herbicide directly onto the cut stems. This ensures that the chemicals travel through the vine’s root system. The downside of using chemicals is that many people do not want to spray their yard with substances that could be toxic to pets, children, and nearby plant life. Likewise, many chemicals cannot be sprayed near rivers, streams or other bodies of water, as it could affect the aquatic life negatively and the chemicals could potentially travel downstream. It’s important to always read the labels on herbicides and do research to find solutions that reduce this danger.
- Destroying the Crowns
Crowns are essentially the source of the visible vines of kudzu, so removing the crowns means removing the potential for new vines to emerge. The crowns themselves are fibrous masses found just below ground level, and they must be dug up to be removed. Once the removal is complete, the crowns must be destroyed. This is because root crowns have the inconvenient ability of regenerating and sprouting more vines.
Just as the kudzu itself smothers other plants in order to continue growing, a homeowner has the option of applying a heavy pile of mulch or grass clippings over the kudzu order to starve it of nutrients and block its growth. Likewise, homeowners can choose to cover the kudzu with sheets of heavy plastic, which traps heat from sunlight and kills the plant.
- Roll-Back Method
Another way homeowners can attempt to keep their property clear of invading kudzu is to bend the vines backwards on top of themselves. This causes the kudzu to continue growing in the opposite direction of your yard. The only thing to be cautious of while rolling kudzu is that inadvertently breaking the vines while bending could lead to more vines sprouting from the broken stem. These vines will straighten and continue growing in the direction of your property. The roll-back method is suggested if new kudzu is just beginning to cross onto your property, as it is not as effective in severe cases
Our fifth method is burning the kudzu. Burning alone isn’t a cure to eradicating kudzu, as it can actually cause more germination to take place, but it’s a great way to clear heavily-covered areas so that you can begin root crown removal and other chemical treatments. The burning method is something best left to professionals, as there are serious dangers that come with using fire around your property, and every city has different codes and regulations when it comes to burning.
The last method to get rid of kudzu is to keep a herd of goats in your yard. For many homeowners, this isn’t exactly a likely option, but goats are well-known for having an insatiable appetite and could go to work quickly on heavily-covered areas. Goats are also a natural and safe way to get rid of an infestation without using chemicals or having to do the hard work by yourself. Of course, this solution would mean having a large yard with proper fencing, as well as the ability to commit to taking care of the animals.
Kudzu is a nuisance to many homeowners in southern states like Georgia, but it’s important to know there are several effective methods of eradicating the plant from your home and property. In some occasions, kudzu infestation can be so serious that it’s best to call a professional lawn care company to come check it out and determine the best solution. A reliable company will be able to not only provide a safe and cost-effective solution for your particular situation, but they will also be able to re-visit your home and provide continuous lawn care treatments.