Invasive Watch: Kudzu

Kudzu is a semiwoody vine infamous for its high-climbing and rapid growth capabilities.

What To Look For

Kudzu (Pueraria montana) is a semiwoody, perennial legume vine that spreads by vegetative growth, rhizomes and seeds. Kudzu is extremely hard to control because of its large tuberous root system, which has tremendous resprouting capacity. Its leaves are hairy, alternate, compound and can grow up to 5 inches long. Flowering occurs in midsummer, when deep-purple, pealike flowers appear in clusters at the axils of the leaves. Kudzu fruit are brown, hairy, flat seed pods.

Where It Is Found

It is a high-climbing vine capable of reaching lengths and heights of more than 100 feet. It can grow one foot each day and cover the tops of trees, shrubs, buildings, utility poles and fences. Kudzu often smothers and kills all other vegetation in its path, including trees, and can cause electrical outages.

This highly invasive weed is native to Japan and China and was introduced into the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. It was widely planted throughout the eastern United States in an attempt to reduce erosion. It now occupies roadsides, fields and forests throughout the Southeast, affecting millions of acres.

How To Treat It

There are several ways to control kudzu and all require multiyear commitments to a program approach. There is no current program — herbicide or mechanical — that will control kudzu with a single-year treatment. All methods require multiyear programs to successfully eradicate kudzu. Treated areas should be checked each year, and new sprouts or seedlings must be treated. The establishment of desirable vegetation, such as native trees and/or grasses, will help to discourage new kudzu growth and recovery.

For kudzu control using high-volume handgun applications, mix Milestone® herbicide at a rate of 7 fluid ounces plus 0.5% surfactant per 100 gallons of spray solution. For truck-mounted manifold sprayers (usually applied at 50 to 100 gallons per acre), apply Milestone at 7 fluid ounces plus 0.5% surfactant per acre. Do not exceed the maximum labeled use rate of 7 fluid ounces per acre.

For spot treatment applications, Milestone can be used at a rate of up to 14 fluid ounces per acre if no more than 50% of the acre is treated. The higher rate in the rate range is better on tough, older kudzu patches. Caution should be exercised when spraying near non-target legumes. Do not apply Milestone to the soil underneath non-target legumes or other desirable tree species.

Transline® herbicide is an excellent option when kudzu control is needed on electric utility poles and other areas where selective kudzu control is desired with little potential for damage to adjacent trees and shrubs. For forest sites, Transline is labeled for use as an over-the-top application for kudzu control in pine plantations (and other conifers) as either a broadcast or spot treatment.

For kudzu control, Transline should be mixed at a rate of 21 fluid ounces plus 0.5% surfactant per 100 gallons of spray solution for high-volume handgun applications or should be applied at 21 fluid ounces plus 0.5% surfactant per acre for truck-mounted manifold sprayers. Do not exceed the maximum labeled use rate of 21 fluid ounces per acre.

 

™®Trademarks of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer, and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. When treating areas in and around roadside or utility rights-of-way that are or will be grazed, hayed or planted to forage, important label precautions apply regarding harvesting hay from treated sites, using manure from animals grazing on treated areas or rotating the treated area to sensitive crops. See the product label for details. State restrictions on the sale and use of Milestone and Transline apply. Milestone herbicide is labeled for use in forestry site preparation treatments in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MN, MS, NC, SC, TX and VA. Milestone herbicide is labeled for use in longleaf pine plantations in NC, SC and VA. See the supplemental label for details. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions. ©2019 Corteva.

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