Coalition to Control Kudzu Infestations without Chemicals

July 2008 Newsletter


Kudzu is blossoming early and that is bad news: We saw the first kudzu flowers on Tuesday, June 24, several weeks earlier than last year. The bad news is that the new vines have begun to root. In 2007 Dr. Gill Newberry observed that kudzu nodes first put out roots at the same time that the plant flowers. We have seen hundreds of confirmations this year – no rooting until the flowering season, but then watch out! If any recipient is aware of prior documentation on this point, please reply and let us know.


Bush hogs: It is common knowledge that kudzu can be controlled by regular mowing. We have demonstrated that two years of aggressive weed eating not only protected desirable areas from invading kudzu but also killed existing crowns. With this in mind, the Coalition has specifically identified bush hogs as deserving more attention in 2008.  Howard Miller and Buddy Waters have kindly been willing to use their bush hogs to attack several kudzu sites. We are very pleased with the results thus far and appreciate these volunteers sharing their time and equipment.


Nature-Deficit Disorder: Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods is an eye opener. This book is so important that we are devoting the remainder of this newsletter to Celia Cooksey’s summary (Cliffs Notes).


1. There is an “increasing divide between the young and the natural world,” with “environmental, social, psychological, and spiritual implications…” (p. 10)


2. Private groups and public governments, suburbs’ encroachment upon natural spaces and students’ heavier schedules, “screen time” and fear—all restrict children’s access to nature. (Chapter 3 & Part III)


3. Active living research shows that “an indoor, sedentary childhood is linked to mental health problems.”(p. 32)


4. Researchers report a 50% decline in 9–12 year-olds’ outside activities from 1997–2003. (p. 34)


5. Kaiser Family Foundation studies released in 2005 found that children between 8–18 years old spend an average of 45 hours per week “plugged in electronically.” (p. 119)


6. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical diagnosis—rather, it “describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.” (p. 36)


7. “The protective impact of nearby nature is strongest for the most vulnerable children,” says a 2003 Cornell University study, reporting that life’s stressful events cause more psychological distress in children who live in low-nature conditions. (p. 51)


8. Howard Gardener, of Harvard University, has recently revised his multiple intelligences theory to include an eighth: naturalist intelligence, or “nature smart.” (p. 72)


9. Swedish researchers found that children in daycare featuring “outdoors in all weathers” play had better motor coordination and more ability to concentrate, when compared with those engaging in quiet, urban play. (p. 105)


10. The American Journal of Public Health reported in 2004 that “greenery in a child’s every day environment; even with all variables accounted for, specifically reduces attention-deficit symptoms. (p. 106)


Thank you for your continuing interest and support for the environment, the community, and the students.                     Newt Hardie, Kudzu Coalition