Sedalia Seasonal Camp is in the Enoree Ranger District of Sumter National Forest in South Carolina. The camp is in the northwest part of Sumter National Forest, It is also referred to as Sedalia Hunt Camp because it is primarily a campground for hunters. As the map below shows (click on it for a larger image), the camp is 70 acres in an irregularly shaped area that crosses Bombing Range Rd. This road ends at state routes 49 (Cross Keys Hwy.) and 18 (Old Buncombe Rd.) at its north and south ends, respectively.
Kudzu was treated using the Transline herbicide for three or four years. The surviving kudzu is not growing in dense stands. The photograph shows how kudzu typically appears as small isolated plants in open areas and along roads. September 2007.
Mary Morrison of Sumter National Forest asked the Coalition to join in a program to completely remove the remaining kudzu in the camp. Mary is Planning Team Leader for this effort. The current plan is for the Coalition to work on about 23 acres (herbicide-free treatments, the portion southeast of Bombing Range Rd.; see map above), with herbicide spot treatment on the remaining 47 acres (the portion northwest of Bombing Range Rd.). Depending on the outcome of this program, perhaps Coalition methods might become a standard treatment after herbicides have been used for several years to knock down kudzu, leading to a significant reduction of herbicide use on thousands of acres, and a reduction in kudzu control costs. Regardless, we plan to use the program as an opportunity to further investigate ways to obtain a higher "kill percentage", and learn how to work more quickly.
The first photograph shows a camp area with no kudzu. The second photograph shows an instance of dead kudzu vines in trees, along with live kudzu. Areas like this are scattered throughout the camp. September 2007.
Here is our work crew on the first day of site work. From left to right, Coalition volunteer Paul Savko, Forest Service Ranger Steve Cobb, contractor Lynn Rhodes and his employee Michael Norris, and independent contractor Johnny Robinson. Coalition volunteer Newt Hardie also participated — when he was not taking photographs! October 2007.
One possible reason kudzu is not more of a problem is the presence of deer. In the first photograph is a light green vine with almost no leaves. That is a kudzu vine that has had nearly all of its leaves nibbled off by deer. Click on the image for a larger view. For once the deer are on our side! However, without leaves it is harder to find the plant to remove it. The second photograph shows fierce thorns faced by kudzu warriors. (Your vision would be blurry too if you ran into those thorns!) October 2007.
We learned a great deal from this first work session. Briars and bushes made passage difficult. We planned to use the Kudzu Chop as our primary way of removing kudzu crowns, but the size and depth of crowns made this difficult. Perhaps herbicide treatment killed the "easy" crowns. The bottom line is that this was very difficult work, not for "light" workers such as high school students. We worked six acres during this session. It went slower than expected, and wore us out!
Volunteers returned twice for all-day work sessions, one week apart. Here are photographs from the second session. The first photograph shows again how deer nibbled away almost all of the leaves, leaving a very unkudzu-like plant. Roots and crowns are unusually large relative to the small vines. We surmise that three years of herbicide application killed off most of the smaller crowns. The second photograph shows a root that is one of the larger ones found. It has large roots and crown, but small vines. October 2007.
Many of the crowns and roots removed showed signs of degradation from the three years of herbicide applications. Note the black areas. The cross section shows a "hollowing out", which Coalition volunteers had never seen before. Again, the assumption is that herbicides are the cause. October 2007.
Here we see left to right Ranger Mary Morrison, contractor Scott Robinson, Coalition volunteer Lou Adams, and contractor Lynn Rhodes showing their proud "fisherman" pose. October 2007.
Just before the third and final work session of the season, the first hard frost occurred. Kudzu foliage exposed to the frost began to die, which makes it harder to find the plants. The usual crew of volunteers showed up as seen in the first photograph, with the addition of John Woodward (second from right). The second photograph shows volunteer Paul Savko at rest during the mid-morning break. Note that his hand tool becomes a seat — so long as one does not sway. Being sure to not sit on the handle end of the tool is important too! October 2007.
Here we see a good example of two crowns joined by a good sized vine, with a sprout at the center of the horizontal vine. In this case the vine was covered by soil, and easy to incorrectly identify as a root. It is better to dig up such vines to prevent future vine sprouts. When in doubt, remember the color test: A scraped vine usually shows a greenish color (due to chlorophyll), and a scraped root usually shows a creamy or orangish color. October 2007.
To avoid wasting time being distracted by previously extracted crowns scattered on the ground, they were piled together — on a fallen tree in the example shown on the first photograph. Or, decapitated crowns were placed in a tree with low limbs, as shown in the second photograph. October 2007.
Most kudzu vines at this site were lying on the ground, and very few live ones were growing up into trees. The first photograph shows the largest living vertical vine that was found. It was about 1½ inches in diameter. The herbicide applications were effective against vines hanging from trees. Perhaps 99% of these vines were killed before this year’s project began. Necessity — long work days and tough crown removal — is the mother of invention. Paul Savko and his brother Johnny built a quiver from PVC pipe to hold construction flags, shown in the second photograph. Such flags were used to temporarily mark the perimeter of work areas on this large site. It clips on a belt, and frees up hands for using hand tools. Larger crowns (some large enough to warrant the term "stump") led several workers to carry and use the 36 inch pick. October 2007.