Coalition To Control Kudzu Infestations Without Chemicals

October 2008 Newsletter


Five new sites adopted: Each year we ask officials from the City of Spartanburg to identify the biggest kudzu problem areas. Tony McAbee and Brian Wofford have directed the Kudzu Coalition to the kudzu situation at St. Johns Street, next to the TK Gregg baseball field. For the third year, Peggy Romine has pointed us to a new kudzu infestation in the Duncan Park neighborhood. This will be known as Peggy’s Patch #3 and is along the lake, close to the dam. For next year, Anne Leger and Merike Tamm and the Converse Heights neighborhood team have selected a massive group of tall trees that are overwhelmed by kudzu at the East Main Street corner with Ivy Street. Earlier, the Hillcrest/Hillview neighborhood team of Samantha Parks, Connie Melton, and Gladys Skinner suggested that we tackle the kudzu at the corner of Maryland Ave. and Drayton Road. Ed Griffin and Mary Waters have selected the next site for kudzu removal from the SPACE properties. We have our work cut out for us.


Sumter National Forest project: Lou Adams, Marlene Comer, Robin Mackie, Art Seboe and a team of contract workers completed a project at a 23 acre site known as the Sedalia Hunt Club. This was a follow-up on the 2007 initiative documented in Mary Morrison’s article “Alternative Controls for Kudzu” published in the fall issue of “Wildland Weeds”.  The key finding is that non-chemical methods can be used INSTEAD OF herbicides after the original infestation is knocked back by herbicides. See


Other lessons learned: During the above project, our team observed crowns sprouting this year which were not sprouting in 2007. Steve Patton also noticed that many large crowns had only one vine. Most of these vines were only two or three feet long, which is most unusual for mid-September. We hypothesized that previous herbicide applications had stressed the crowns and caused these results. Later, we learned that Dr. Jim Miller had documented similar observations years ago. It was new to us but old hat to him.


Another victory: We have just removed the last visible kudzu from the Spartanburg Day School’s site at Drayton Road and Skylyn Drive. Yeah!


Big initiative with students: Ms. Renee Smith, Environmental Science teacher at Riverside High in Greer, SC., brought five classes (125 students) out to control the kudzu around their football field. This is a major step forward for our “No student left indoors” initiative.  The Kudzu Coalition provided the tools while Rich Mead, experienced kudzu fighter in the Greenville area, did the training and facilitated the kick off. This is a major step forward is two respects. Not only is Riverside the first school we have worked with outside of Spartanburg, but it is also the largest group of students that has ever worked on kudzu in one day in this area.


Experiment and test area: Paul Savko has built a compost bin in the test area behind the Y to demonstrate one of the benefits of kudzu. Don Oldham is proving again that hot water can kill individual kudzu plants. Jim Anderson keeps the area mowed and looking first class.  A large group of 150 visitors to the city toured the area last Sunday.        


Kudzu Coalition to Control Kudzu without Chemicals while Having Fun