Leroy Jeter, a member of the Board of Directors for the Highland Neighborhood Association, came to one of the Coalition breakfast meetings. His neighborhood had seen the kudzu removal work done behind the Beacon Drive-In. Leroy wanted to know if it was possible to eliminate the kudzu at the eastern entrance to their neighborhood. The photographs show the situation prior to Coalition work. August 2009.
The site is approximately one acre. Although the task was daunting, work began that same month. The first kudzu "party" featured Paul Blakeley and his skid-steer. The neighborhood turned out to help — encouraged by Mr. Jeter's generous serving of ice cream. A good time was had by all, except for the kudzu which took a big hit! August 2009.
The team returned for second and third attacks fortified by more of Leroy Jeter's ice cream. The Coalition's Paul Savko (left) discusses strategy with Rev. McHam (right) and another volunteer. September 2009.
Paul David Blakely gets serious with the skid-steer using the extra-wide fork designed by the Coalition for kudzu removal. Kudzilla was virtually swallowed up in the field of kudzu covered trees, mostly dead. September 2009.
Rev. Wilbert McHam and Leroy Jeter piled construction debris onto the skid-steer forks, and the photograph shows them getting a free ride to the edge of the kudzu patch. September 2009.
Meanwhile, getting kudzu vines out of trees is largely manual labor. September 2009.
After Kudzilla rolled back the kudzu mass alongside the forest edge on the far side of the work area, we were able to creep across the remaining kudzu and see the creek which flows under the power line. Such a hidden feature is treacherous for man and machine. September 2009.
The level ground of the work area was an excellent for testing different methods for cleanup after the skid-steer clears away most of the above-ground bio-mass. The first photograph shows "the Klaw", which is painted yellow for improved visibility. And it is shown being mounted on two forks. Klaw works better when Kudzilla backs up, and dragging is easier on the hydraulic system than pushing. In the second photograph Kudzilla is using the Klaw to rake away debris. September 2009.
Shortly before sundown, the team is still at work — this time testing whether Klaw might be helpful for removing another bad guy: English ivy. It was! September 2009.
Back again two weeks later, the corner is looking much better and is much safer because drivers can see oncoming traffic under and through the trees. September 2009.
The first photograph shows a five inch diameter kudzu vine "stump"; vines get large when they grow up into trees! After several weeks of drying out, the piles of kudzu can now be rolled even further back, under the power tower, as shown in the second photograph. October 2009.
Howard Miller uses his tractor and cultivator with attached sweeps to plow the area previously cleared by the Klaw to remove buried roots and crowns. The tractor and skid-steer complement each other, and rapid progress has been made after only a few months because of the powered equipment. October 2009.