A majestic tree, saved! September 2005.
Coalition volunteers examine their work-in-progress. September 2005.
Eight months later, both the ground and fence near the tree are kudzu free. May 2006.
The Coalition continues to push kudzu away from the tree, as seen in the first photograph. The tree is just off the right hand side of the image. Click for a larger view. Vines and root crowns material removed by hand is piled up for removal by city services, as seen in the second photograph. March and April 2006.
Taking a break in kudzu's shade. March 2006.
After having recently learned how to remove kudzu using a skid loader, the Coalition decides to apply it to large areas of kudzu near the tree. Its maneuverability is an asset for urban work, and rubber wheels do not damage curbs (unlike metal treads). August 2006.
The kudzu patch is well established, averaging 4 feet to 6 feet deep. The skid loader fork is slid under the mat of kudzu, and raised as high as possible to pull root crowns out of the ground. A side-to-side twisting maneuver breaks vines. August 2006.
After masses of vines are broken away, the skid loader sometimes moves it to piles for disposal. At other times, the skid loader is used to roll up the kudzu like a carpet and left in place to "cook" (compost). August 2006.
For sites where there is too much kudzu to remove, the skid loader clears ground and sets up a control line that is patrolled by volunteers that keep kudzu from returning to its former ground. Although the ground cleared by the skid loader is fairly clean, not all kudzu root crowns are removed. Other methods are necessary to kill any remaining kudzu. However, the skid loader has made that job much easier by removing nearly all of the biomass covering the ground. August 2006.
The skid loader easily removes very large kudzu roots and crowns, but it also finds other stuff that must be hauled away. August 2006.
The toothed bucket replaces the fork on the front of the skid loader. The bucket is used as a plow to push kudzu into piles when the mass is too heavy for lifting with the fork. Once it dries, it is much lighter and easier to move. August 2006.
Coalition volunteers admire the pile of removed mass of tangled vines. August 2006.
One of the excised kudzu root crowns insists on sprouting. It is living on stored energy, and borrowed time. August 2006.
Other methods of control are undergoing tests at this site. The first photograph shows carpet covering kudzu to compare its effectiveness at killing kudzu compared with plastic sheets. Carpet is heavier and flattens biomass, but plastic sheets are impervious to air and water, and conduct solar heat well. The second photograph shows an area that was cleared by the skid loader. The plastic sheet is placed over part of the area to kill any remaining crowns. The uncovered area bordered by colored tape shall be monitored for sprouts to see how many viable kudzu plants were left by the skid loader. August 2006.
The skid loader cleared kudzu from a large area in a relatively short time. The photographs show the newly exposed ground, which adds a further barrier between kudzu and the rescued tree. The Coalition plans to push the kudzu back as far as possible using the skid loader. August 2006.
Two large mounds of removed kudzu await disposal near the "Beacon tree" at the end of the day, after several hours of work with a skid loader. August 2006.
The Coalition wants to know if skid loader treatment kills kudzu. Therefore, quarter milli-acre areas (about 3' by 3') were sampled before using the skid loader. This method is shown in the March 2007 photograph below. During a one day session, crown counts ranged from 84,000 crowns per acre to 172,000 crowns per acre. Preliminary results are that the skid loader kills more than half of the plants by removing kudzu crowns. These preliminary results shall be refined in future work at this location, and others.