This several-acre stretch of city property along Alexander Ave. was selected by city officials as a particular eyesore, especially as it lies adjacent to a 24 acre neighborhood park in the city, the Priscilla Rumley/Mary H. Wright Greenway. A small pilot program was begun in late 2005 to begin work on part of the affected site.
Here are examples of large kudzu crowns that were removed December 2005 and January 2006. The beverage cans reveal the large relative size of each crown. Kudzu has been thriving on the site for a long time.
The site represents a challenge to the Coalition because of the relatively large area affected, and dense foliage. Curtains of kudzu veiled large trees near sidewalks, bringing some trees down. January 2006.
Besides kudzu, very large ivy vines attack trees, both English and poison ivys. In the right photo volunteer Merike Tamm's fingers rest on a poison ivy vine. This vine is seen growing up the trunk of a large tree in the left photo with Merike. Kudzu and poison ivy are often found together. The Coalition removes damaging ivy vines from tree trunks, but otherwise usually leaves English ivy alone as it generally provides attractive groundcover on undeveloped acreage. January 2006.
Dr. Doug Rayner, a noted author and expert on invasive plants at Wofford College in Spartanburg, and Merike, measure this poison ivy vine. Dr. Rayner wrote that "it is by far the largest stem of that species that I have ever seen." It measured 13¾ inches in circumference at 4½ feet off the ground. February 2006.
The poison ivy vine was removed from the tree up to eye level, and here is a photo of a portion of the removed root. February 2006.
These photographs show ivy vines removed from around tree trunks up to about five feet above ground (left), and kudzu vines cut at heights that are as high as can be conveniently reached by volunteers (right). Ivy and kudzu vines that remain in the tree canopy thereby die, and eventually fall to the ground, increasing sunlight to trees for growth. February 2006.
Besides removal of kudzu, privet, and other invasive plants, which is piled on the street for removal by the city, much urban trash is uncovered and removed. January 2006.
Work in progress. February 2006.
The kudzu-swathed trees shown in the left photograph (January 2006) are now free of vines. The view is now open to the creek below, and up to the park beyond in the right photograph (April 2006). Removal of privet (another invasive plant) considerably helped open up the view.
Another example. January 2006 and August 2006.
This photograph shows only a relatively small amount of the privet removed from the site, and placed along the road for pickup by the city. November 2006.
In September 2007 the Coalition declared 100% kudzu kill for the site! Much of the work at this site was accomplished by married couple Jimmy and Jackie. The Coalition thanks them for their hard work! Photograph from March 2006.
City officials were so impressed with the work completed by late 2006, that they asked the Coalition to expand the scope of the project to include an area further down Alexander Ave. Here is the view down the street December 2006 of kudzu not yet treated. (The previous September 2007 photograph showing a sign declaring "100% Kudzu Kill" refers to that portion of the site worked prior to December 2006.)
To see the scale of the work, note the Coalition volunteer who is practically lost left of center in the first photograph. Click for a larger image. But this does not stop volunteers in the second photograph from giving kudzu (and privet) the old heave ho! December 2006.
Bringing in a skid loader also helped, especially for removing accumulated urban junk, as seen in the first photograph. The second photograph shows that besides removing crowns from ground kudzu, vines were gapped to kill kudzu high in the tall trees. December 2006 and March 2007.
These before-and-after photographs demonstrate the great progress made in removing kudzu. The new cleared area is beginning to look like an inviting park, but there is more work to do. December 2006 and April 2007.