The Kudzu Coalition visited Musgrove Mill State Historic Site as part of its Remote Kudzu Kollege program during July 2007. Kudzu was intentionally planted in the area for erosion control years ago, as is true of many Southern kudzu sites. This was a return visit to Musgrove Mill by the Coalition, but the first Kudzu Kollege training session that was held there. The group of participants included park staff and forestry students. The left photograph shows the group hiking off to work on a site at one of the Musgrove Mill entrances. Near that entrance is a stone monument to a Revolutionary War battle that took place nearby, shown in the right photograph. Click on the photograph for a larger image of the monument.

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Photos by Robert Morrison. © Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved

The left photograph shows the entire group before work began near the entrance. The right photograph shows two participants getting a kudzu removal demonstration by Newt Hardy (right), Coalition president. Note the back of the Revolutionary War stone monument behind them.

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Right Photo by Robert Morrison. © Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved

Three ladies ponder strategy for removing a kudzu crown (first photograph). They begin uncovering it with hand pronghoes (second photograph), and discover that the crown is fairly large. It is preferable to wield a heavy-duty long-handled tool to dig up the crown (last photograph).

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Photos by Robert Morrison. © Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved

Kudzu on a steep embankment is always a challenge. Besides keeping one's balance, the worker must be mindful of keeping the sloped ground flat and packed after crown removal to minimize soil erosion until native plants cover the ground.

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Photos by Robert Morrison. © Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved

Meanwhile, at the top of the embankment, volunteers remove vines from trees. Some vines pull down easily, some do not. Vines that resist being pulled down are cut off as high as possible to keep other vines from using them as a means to climb back up into trees.

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Photos by Robert Morrison. © Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved

After two hours of work, the group poses with some of their kudzu trophies. So concluded the "out-in-the-patch" portion of Kudzu Kollege.

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Following this morning work session was a brief tour of historical points of interest at the park, including a pleasant walk along the Enoree River. Then came a weiner roast. Special guest Bill Stringer (President of the South Carolina Native Plant Society) and his wife Sharon (right photograph), were present to share in the fellowship and join in discussions.

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Photos by Robert Morrison. © Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved

Following lunch, the lecture portion of Kudzu Kollege was held outdoors on the porch of the Musgrove Mill museum building. It was out of the hot afternoon sunlight, and a very comfortable way to end a great day. Special thanks to Mary Morrison of Sumter National Forest for planning and participating in the event (seated left in photograph), and Robert Morrison who photographed it.

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Photo by Robert Morrison. © Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved