Kudzu

Kudzu is one of the invasive species that the State of Maryland currently considers the most troublesome. Learn more below.

Kudzu
Striatic, “Road Trip Day Three ~ Kudzu,”
October 1, 2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons
Attribution.

Description

According to the Maryland Invasive Species Council (MISC) on its Kudzu page, Kudzu was introduced into the US from southeast Asia in 1876. It is a green, leavy vine that quickly spreads and climbs over everything in its path.

The Threat

Kudzu has spread prolifically throughout the south. Southerners jokingly refer to kudzu as "the vine that ate the south." For many years, experts thought that kudzu's northward spread was controlled, because the vines could not tolerate harsh winters. However, perhaps because Maryland now experiences milder winters, kudzu has established a foothold in the state. Kudzu kills any plants it covers by blocking their access to the sun. According to MISC, experts now think that chemicals produced by kudzu adversely affect air quality by increasing the amount of ozone in the air.

Control and Removal

Kudzu is very difficult to control. Various control methods have been tried, including mowing, grazing by sheep and goats, herbicides, and fungal pathogens; however, none of the methods tried so far have been able to stop kudzu's spread. According to MISC, the best way to control kudzu is to pull it before it has had a chance to become established.