February 2009 Newsletter


January sprout: To our big surprise, Marlene Comer, Paul Savko, and Tim Hemphill found a two inch kudzu sprout while working at the Hub-Bub site on January 10. Never before have we seen sprouts in January. Fortunately the cold weather set the kudzu back and we saw no buds this week. The first kudzu buds in 2006 were spotted on March 8. Kudzu was a bit earlier in 2007 when buds were visible on February 22 and on February 29 last year. In each of these past three years, a cold snap in early March sets the new growth back to zero. We hope history repeats.


Privet beware: Ten days ago. Howard Miller put on an impressive show at the SPACE site close to Lawson’s Fork Creek and the Cottonwood Trail. The challenge that day pitted Howard, his tractor, and front loader against a full stand of privet (100% cover according to Dr. Doug Rayner from Wofford). It wasn’t even close. Howard won the battle and the applause of fellow workers Mary Walter, Dr. Rayner, Paul Savko, Fred Parish, Cindy Cavanaugh, and Sandra Wroblewski.


Field cultivator with sweeps very effective against kudzu: Howard’s victory against privet comes as no surprise. He has built a record of winning battles against kudzu. Howard attached six inch wide sweeps to the shanks of his field cultivator. After first treatments using either a bobcat or a bush hog, the cultivator with sweeps reduces the remaining kudzu to about 2% of the original crown density. This has proven true in two separate infestations and is now our favorite sequence of methods.


Kudzilla’s new jaws: Paul Blakeley’s mighty skid-steer loader is now equipped with a new rake-like attachment with teeth. It works much better than the grapple hook.



Website capabilities: Several months ago Lou Adams, now Webmaster Emeritus, added a “Search” capability to every page on our website. This is a big help in finding things such as site photos specific topics. Try it.


Celia Cooksey’s award: A local paper published a picture of Celia receiving a special award from the Kudzu Coalition. Her “excerpts” from Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods has been helpful to all of the District Superintendents and Principals and many others. Unfortunately, an old geezer was included and messed up the photo op.



McCracken Junior High: The seventh grade classes of teachers Sheila Sistare and Karen Copley, supported by Pat Rogers, have begun the removal of kudzu across the street from McCracken. Their energy and enthusiasm is impressive. That kudzu is doomed.


New sites: Several new ones in Duncan Park and a joint initiative with the Spartanburg Garden Council. More about these next time.


Thanks for your support.