The southeast side of the Broome High School campus, has kudzu. Broome High School is in Spartanburg, South Carolina. These photographs show the situation during November 2006: Kudzu along the edge of the woods (left), as well as along a boundary fence and a large area of ground in front of it (right).
The Kudzu Coalition, along with Broome High School student volunteers, began work February 2007. The left photograph shows a sign announcing the effort, and the right photograph shows how a portion of the kudzu infestation appeared in mid-winter.
Volunteer Paul David Blakeley used his skid loader to begin removing kudzu at the edge of the woods. Paul used a fork attachment to both pull up kudzu crowns and kudzu roots from the ground, and pull kudzu vines away from trees. Note especially the large roots pulled from the ground in the right photograph.
Paul is fearless about working deep into "the bush" with his skid loader to remove kudzu!
For kudzu on the ground, Paul lifts and rolls kudzu forward like a rug. It is piled up along the tree line within the campus to decompose into a rich mulch. Kudzu covers a chain link fence on the campus property line as is seen in the background of the right photograph.
The skid loader is also outfitted with a bucket that is used to scrape the ground level, and clear it of kudzu crowns roots and vines, as needed.
Other power tools are used by the Coalition, including the lawn mower being used here by volunteer Steve Patton along the edge of the woods. Steve set the cutting blade high. While it does not remove kudzu crowns, it does clear the ground for more careful manual work.
Later during March 2007, Broome High School student volunteers helped remove kudzu crowns.
As the next photograph shows, volunteers laid out plastic sheets, both black and clear, as is seen in the foreground. These sheets kill some kudzu plants and reduce the amount of subsequent manual labor. Stones along the edges prevent wind from turning the sheets, and minimize the amount of cooling air that enters under the sheets. Note too that volunteers removed kudzu from about half of the chain link fence at the southeastern property line.
The number of crowns on the site was estimated using the milli-acre sampling method. Prior to Coalition work, the site had over 75,000 kudzu crowns per acre (crowns/acre). Following the first skid loader treatment the number dropped to about 45,000 crowns/acre. It further dropped to about 28,000 crowns/acre (as shown in the photograph) after the March work by volunteers.
Coalition volunteer Barbara Daniels monitors the effectiveness of plastics sheets in early Spring, May 2007.
A black plastic sheet is nearly lost in the surrounding kudzu in the first photograph. In the second photograph a clear plastic sheet was removed from a background area, leaving behind an area lighter green in color. The sheet was not in position long enough to completely kill the kudzu.
A similar inspection is made in June 2007 in left photograph. The right photograph shows the bare ground following a second skid loader treatment. The bucket attachment was used upside down so the teeth penetrated the ground four to five inches while the ground was scraped free of crowns and roots. As of June 2007, this was the most effective treatment found for clearing the ground of kudzu using the skid loader.
Broome High School is the second of two sites where the Coalition is participating in the Chemical & Nonchemical Joint Study for Kudzu Control. Click on that link for full technical details. The partners for the Joint Study at Broome High School are:
The photographs below show the first herbicide application at Broome High School, which was done July 2007. The first photograph shows the hose reel sprayer mounted on a truck for high-volume application on flat terrain. The second photograph shows Charles Kemp, owner of Marshfield Forest Service, applying the herbicide Milestone VM. The solution is tinted blue to make it easier to see where it has been applied.
At left the bluish herbicide solution can be seen on a clear plastic sheet. The non-staining tint will eventually break down into harmless materials, and wash down into the soil. The photograph at right shows Matt Nespeca of The Nature Conservancy, who chairs the chemical group in the Kudzu Control Task Force of SC-EPPC.
Less than a month later, the effect of the herbicide is obvious. August 2007.
Ever resourceful, in the left photograph a kudzu vine pokes out from underneath a plastic sheet, seeking more favorable growing conditions! July 2007.
Compare this photograph to earlier ones showing the same view. It follows Coalition work using the skid loader and the labor of Broome High School student volunteers. What looks like piles of dirt in the background are piles of kudzu placed there by the skid loader! September 2007.
The grounds maintenance team at Boome High mows the acre or so that previous students and other volunteers have cleared of kudzu. Surprisingly, no kudzu sprouts have appeared in this ground, which was waist high in kudzu when we began. See the earlier photographs on this page! April 2009.
Ms. Tonya Foster contacted us about working with her current Environmental Science class. Tonya attended Kudzu Kollege and, as her diploma states, is now a certified kudzu killer. She scheduled a Coalition show-and-tell session during class. Broome's new principal Joel McCracken attended the class discussion. The students were still awake at the end of class, so we counted it a success. October 2009.
On a fall school day the entire class attacked with vigor the kudzu on the Broome campus. Avoiding fire ants was a challenge, but they eagerly and energetically removed crowns and saved trees from kudzu's smothering vines. Superintendent of School District 3, Dr. Jim Ray, visited to see what we do on such outings. This was the first time a District Superintendent has looked on during a kudzu class activity. We appreciate his interest. After 50 minutes the students had collected a noteworthy array of kudzu trophies, including the monster shown in the photograph. October 2009.