This web page reviews work conducted off of the Cannons Camp Ground Rd. entrance to Peter's Creek Preserve in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The Cannons Camp Ground Rd. entrance to the preserve is not the main entrance, nor is it well marked for public access. But there is much kudzu along the road. Here is a series of photographs taken October 2006 that shows how Coalition volunteer Paul David Blakeley uses his skid loader to remove an area of kudzu from around a tree. The first photograph shows the area before work begins. The second photograph shows Paul David using his skid loader to reach up for vines high in the tree.
After snagging vines on the fork, Paul turns the skid loader to the right, and moves the skid loader forward to pull an entire group of vines down from the tree.
Paul David begins clearing kudzu from the ground around the tree. Whenever possible, Paul David uproots privet and other undesirable shrubs and small trees, as is shown in the right photograph.
The tree is freed of vines, with some ground cleanup to be completed on some other day.
The Coalition returned during November 2006, again attacking kudzu and underbrush along the access road with the skid loader.
A tow belt is tied around groups of vines that reach up into the trees (first two photographs), or that lay on the ground (second two photographs). The skid loader is then used to pull down vines from the trees, or to pull out vines from the ground. In either situation, someone on the ground assists the skid load operator by working the tow belt end.
In addition to using a tow belt, a grappling hook is also useful for clearing ground. The hook snags onto vines, and is pulled by the skid loader.
As is the case for using a tow belt, it is very helpful to have an assistant for the skid loader operator to work the grapple. This sometimes means cutting away debris to free the hook . . .
. . . because unless the grapple is especially sturdy, it is not difficult to bend the hook while pulling it across rough terrain! December 2006.
These January 2007 photographs show the progress made clearing one side of the road. Compare them to photographs at the top of this web page. The left photograph shows how grass and other groundcover is returning to the ground cleared of kudzu. The second photograph shows the rightmost portion of the first paragraph where vine clearing has not begun. Click on them to see larger images.
Students from Spartanburg Day School return to the Preserve to continue kudzu removal. January 2007.
Man overboard! It takes a whole crew to retrieve this poor guy. January 2007.
Kudzu Buddies. January 2007.
Kudzu Coalition Executive Director Newt Hardie is usually the one behind the camera, carefully documenting activities. But here he exhibits kudzu crowns that he removed. Way to go, Newt! April 2007.
The bank of this ravine in the Preserve, with a creek at the bottom, is a dismal example of kudzu replacing native plants. Removing all of that kudzu would be quite a job. April 2007.
The first photograph taken in April 2007 suggests that kudzu is gone from the area shown. The sad truth is that when this photograph was made in early spring, temperatures were such that kudzu had not yet become active. But by May 2007 when the second photograph was made showing part of the same area of ground, kudzu begins sprouting from "treated" ground. While many kudzu crowns were indeed removed, many more crowns remain. A large plastic sheet is placed on ground to keep kudzu growth to a minimum (and possibly kill some crowns) until manpower is available to remove remaining kudzu. Such removal treatments can go on for years before kudzu is eliminated. Of course, that is true of herbicide treatment too, which can take three years or more. This is not a desirable option for the Preserve.
Mistress of the Preserve, the Coalition's own Dr. Gill Newberry, gives four National Park Service Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) volunteers a rousing pep talk to get them into a proper kudzu-killing mood (left). And by gosh, they indeed do their fair share of yanking out the miserable stuff. June 2007.
The YCC volunteers pose with their takings, and then relax at lunch. June 2007.
Plastic sheets used by the Coalition against kudzu can sometimes be quite large. June 2007.