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Conquering Kudzu with a Little Help from Our Four-Legged Friends

March 30th, 2021
By Caitlyn Smith Gendusa

“The vine that ate the South.” This sounds more like the title for a science fiction movie about plant monsters and less like a description of the infamous kudzu, a species so prolific that over fifty million acres is occupied by this plant globally.

Kudzu, originally touted as a “wonder plant” by the United States government, was first introduced from China in the late 1800’s. The issue with kudzu stems from the plant’s ability to climb trees and blanket plants and shrubs, thereby suffocating them and preventing absorption of nutrients. Even power lines and homes are damaged by the noxious weed.

Luckily, management resources are available that just might keep this pesky weed from taking over your own property. A few organizations exist that aid landowners with kudzu control. One is Trees Coalition, located in Spartanburg County. Trees Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to the care and maintenance of trees.

This organization is an expansion of the Kudzu Coalition, which focuses on herbicide-free kudzu control. In addition to providing community members with assistance in kudzu control, Trees Coalition offers volunteer workdays that are a fun outdoor activity for friends and family to enjoy.

Before resorting to synthetic herbicides (which can negatively affect beneficial plant and animal species) for weed control, consider utilizing goats for weed removal.

What makes goats exceptional at weed removal? They are able to reach steep terrain and their narrow mouths can crush even the smallest of seeds that would have otherwise been able to germinate using machinery. An increasing number of businesses in the Upstate offer landowners "goat rentals" to complete their weed work.

Surprisingly enough, this is touted as an incredibly cost effective solution that on average costs 50% less than using machines or labor for weed removal. This is an advantage considering that not all terrain can be accessed by machinery safely and human removal is labor intensive.

For more information on kudzu management, contact Upstate Goatscapes or Trees Coalition.

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