Here and Noxious: Kudzu
Ellen Phillips, Extension Educator – Crop Systems, Countryside
Extension Center, 708-352-0109, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sept. 23, 2002 Kudzu was added to the Illinois Noxious Weed
list. The Noxious Weed law as established July 1, 1976 and gives
the Illinois Department of Agriculture responsibility for enforcing
this law. Counties often have local ordinances that are administered
through the Public Health or other local departments. The Noxious
Weed Law states that the property owner must control the spread
of and eradicate weeds identified as noxious. Kudzu joins Canada
thistle, musk thistle, perennial sow thistle, giant ragweed, common
ragweed, sorghum almum, johnsongrass and marijuana on this list.
has been here for a while. In 1996 and 1997 field surveys were
and 53 kudzu populations in 23 counties or a little
over 300 acres were found. Although most were in southern Illinois,
Kudzu was found as far north as Interstate 80. The Illinois
Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Transportation,
the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
the Natural Resources Conservation Service teamed with private
to create an eradication program before it becomes a major
economic pest. This program included designating Kudzu as a noxious
in Illinois. The team will identify kudzu populations. Landowners
will be contacted for their voluntary cooperation in removing
patches of the weed. The agencies will then monitor the site
to assure that kudzu does not reestablish.
In 1876 Kudzu was brought from Japan. In the 1930s it was planted
extensively in southern states to control soil erosion. It
not only controlled erosion, it smothered any plants in the surrounding
area. As a vine, it grows densely and quickly. Primarily in
states, Kudzu covers more than seven million acres and spreads
to about 120,000 new acres each year with an average of $300
million in damage per year.
Kudzu is semi-woody and has large, trifoliate leaves. Its vines
can grow up to one foot a day in every direction during early
summer and travel more than 60 feet in one year. Huge starchy,
roots weighing up to 300 pounds and reaching a depth of 12
feet in the soil aid its survival. It is not uncommon to have
of thousands of plants per acre in established stands.
To see for yourself what this extraordinary climbing vine looks
like you can find more information on it at http://invader.dbs.umt.edu/Noxious_Weeds/.
Kudzu can be controlled by persistent and frequent defoliation
by mowing or grazing, digging out the root system or by a
few select herbicides.