The City of Spartanburg has used their offset flail mower in the past to control kudzu in the Duncan Park neighborhood, and in other locations. Kudzu is also cut down anytime it is used to "mow" along the sides of roads. The flail mower removes kudzu foliage, and disturbs some rooted nodes and crowns. The effect is to knock kudzu back to ground level, and it does this more quickly than sheeting. This treatment has potential as both an offensive first step, and as a defensive treatment. The following May 2007 photograph shows how the flail mower leaves a nicely cut surface, in this case in the absence of kudzu.
The offset flail mower is a serious piece of landscaping equipment, but please read our disclaimer. These photographs show the flailer in its raised position, and successively closer images of the flailing mechanism. September 2005.
The flail mower was used once during the 2006 growing season and judged effective. We shifted our priority to investigating skid loader treatments during the remainder of 2006 and early 2007, because a Coalition volunteer owns a skid loader. However, a flail mower was used at the Vic Bailey, Jr. Blvd. site in May (see photographs below), and the Coalition plans to evaluate the results during the rest of 2007. Here is a photograph that shows a typical patch of ground with kudzu on the Vic Bailey, Jr. Blvd. site. This is the kind of ground the Coalition decided to treat for kudzu using a flail mower.
The City of Spartanburg provided an offset flail mower for the test. Here we see operator Robert Hodge entering the cab, and the flail mower in operation. All photographs May 2007.
Closeups of vegetation entering the flail mechanism, leaving behind mowed ground.