Valuable quotes

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." ~~

"The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you've already lost." ~~

Cree Prophecy - "When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money." ~~

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Killer Kudzu beautiful - NOT!

Damage, horrible, deadly death; Kudzu kills trees by shading them and spreads inexorably, mostly through soil movement and vegetative growth.

An ecological threat, Kudzu kills or degrades other plants by smothering them under a solid blanket of leaves, by girdling woody stems & tree trunks, & by breaking branches or uprooting entire trees & shrubs through the sheer force of its weight. Once established, Kudzu plants grow rapidly, extending as much as 60 feet per season at a rate of about one foot per day. This vigorous vine may extend 32-100 feet in length, with stems ½-4 inches in diameter.

Kudzu roots are fleshy, with massive tap roots 7 inches or more in diameter, 6 feet or more in length, & weighing as much as 400 pounds. As many as thirty vines may grow from a single root crown.

Do we wait for this to happen or do we fight back now?

Anyone driving through the southern states and now up through the southeastern portions of Pennsylvania will be shocked and saddened by the devastation this plant has reeked along roadways and forests. I have just recently made this trip from Las Vegas to Philadelphia before the Christmas holidays, and could not believe my eyes in what has happened in the space of just two years since I'd made the previous trip! Trees standing like ghoulish sentinels hung with strangling vines and broken to the ground. Some century trees literally covered with Kudzu so that a person could no longer identify the tree. Kudzu left unchecked had irrevocably changed the countryside. We can replant, it's true, but not with 200 year old trees.

And now as I take the train along the commute corridor from Downingtown to Philadelphia, I see nothing but dead trees, far beyond saving. Their debris litters the ground and tracks and people I speak with on the street or the trains are unaware of what is killing their trees! They blame the trains, they blame "some disease", they blame the age of the trees; they have not been made aware of this plant or the dangers of planting it. They put it in as a ground cover not knowing that in the space of five to ten years it can totally destroy their property as well as neighboring properties.
I spoke with the forestry service and asked why nothing was being done to remove this plant, or at least halt the growth of it until it could be eradicated safely. I was told that it was cost prohibitive to try and fight it. We can afford to fight Iraqi insurgents but not save our own country from mass erosion apparently.

I then spoke with the forestry service in Mississippi, one of the worst hit states, and they were receptive to someone actually caring about this issue. I told them of my intent; to use my blog to make people aware of the killer so I may get as many concerned people as possible to sign my petition Eradicating Kudzu and send it off to Washington.
Please sign and tell others about it as well, and together we can stop this thing from destroying our beautiful countryside. As well, if each person were to just take care of their own individual properties and fought this plant, that would be a good start against it spreading as quickly. Each one teach one, so to speak. Like Mother Teresa said; "Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person". To wait on things in this case could mean the loss of forests and woods, having our land look like a nuclear accident happened. Without exaggeration, much of it does already.

That's not to say we could win. The government will eventually have to put their money to work to do the public lands and I'm sure the lumber companies might even get their support (and funding)behind them. There are easier and less expensive ways of controlling this problem. The use of livestock has already been proven helpful to control and eliminate some pockets of the vine growth. Another is to use our human resources; bring people in from welfare programs and give them a wage rather than a handout. Volunteers is another way to go. I know I would certainly volunteer my services if there was a program in effect.

Can Kudzu be controlled? After it overran 10 acres of the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi, measures were taken to eradicate (kill) it with approved herbicides (plant killers). Their website shows five photos of the same scene over a period of time. At first it was overgrown with Kudzu, then the plants were killed, then they were burned, then grass was planted, and finally the grass grew tall. View the photos and their will to fight this plant considered one of Mississippi’s Top Ten Worst Weeds.

Taking back the park

Don't be fooled by false perceptions that this weed can't be killed! It can!
So often nothing is done to confront kudzu’s rapid spread & destruction simply because of a false perception that kudzu can’t be killed.

Reality is:- It can!

Kudzu-Free Communities wants you to know Kudzu can be killed.
And the sooner it is, the sooner the kudzu damaged woodlands and tree buffers of our communities can be restored.

This is an uncomplicated program with persistence being the key to success. Thorough inspections and treatments are a must. When this program is properly carried out to its conclusion, complete eradication of all kudzu in the target area(s) is achievable. It may be possible to achieve complete eradication before the fifth year with younger stands of kudzu. To be sure that all kudzu has been eradicated, inspections must still be made through the fifth year.

If kudzu is present on bordering properties, the encroaching kudzu will have to be sprayed back each year, indefinitely. Kudzu seeds may be viable for many years, therefore the treated area should be inspected for seedlings each year, long after the program is completed.

If you would like more information on eradicating kudzu, or if you would like to have a kudzu eradication program performed for you, please give us a call or send us an email.

I am so hoping that my meager start here to introduce people to the problem will eventually lead to the end of it. If anyone has any suggestions as to what we might do to rid ourselves of this vine once and for all, I sure would be interested in hearing from you.


Anonymous said...

I have this at the bottom of my yard and I thought it was pretty. Thank you so much for alerting me to it's character. I have some big oak trees behind our property that could be as old as 200 years and their trunks are covered with this vine, so I'm going to talk to our neighbors this weekend and see if we can start tearing it off.

Jeffrey said...

Ginger, Good work trying to teach people about this stuff. Blogs rule.
I live in Vancouver Canada, and we still have a little time yet before it becomes a problem for us here. At the rate it grows though, everyone needs to act quickly. I signed your petition and have alerted friends about it's existence.
Good luck gurl!

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