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Removing Kudzu

    Date Posted: Thu, Jul 27 - 12:13 am

    Question

  • What can be used to get rid of the Kudzu that has taken over the Camellia bush?
  • Answer

  • The dreaded kudzu! For successful long-term control, the extensive root system must be destroyed. Any remaining root crowns can lead to reinfestation. Kudzu grows from seed and from root crowns. You can see these root crowns if you follow a vine to where it roots in the soil. Dig just a little around it and you will see several buds, new sprouts, or mature vines emerging from just at, or below, the soil surface. This is the root crown. To stop new kudzu vine growth, cut just below the root crown and remove it from the soil. Kudzu cannot regrow from below the root crown, and it does not sprout from any lateral roots. Sometimes vines, which can root, may be buried under a few inches of organic matter and leaf litter. This gives them the appearance of lateral roots, but they are not. Buried vines make control more difficult because they are hidden and may produce many new shoots. Use a shovel or pick axe to expose the base of the root crown. Then use a sharp hatchet, axe, or a small handsaw to cut the root below the root crown. A shovel or hoe is not adequate for the job as the roots are very fibrous or woody. Pruning shears may work for severing smaller root crowns, but will not work for large root crowns. It is also a good idea to plant native grasses in the fall after removal to control erosion and spread of kudzu and invasion of other weedy plants which may colonize the site after kudzu dies. Good luck!