October 2009 Newsletter


International Recognition: Korean Press video tapes for broadcast: Messrs. Chong Lee and Seo-Ho Kim came to Spartanburg last week. On behalf of Korean Broadcasting System, they video taped and interviewed Paul Blakeley on  Kudzilla, Howard Miller removing kudzu crowns with his cultivator, Steve Patton using the walk-behind bush hog at the edge of a kudzu patch, Paul Savko and others on a variety of related subjects. We were honored that Dr. Randy Westbrooks had recommended that they come to Spartanburg to film a special program for showing on Korean TV.


“Killing kudzu with a farm tractor”: Buddy Water’s write up with this title has attracted a lot of attention.  Go to




It is short and to the point and comes from someone who has actually done it.


The “Klaw”: The Kudzu Coalition team’s latest innovation for Paul Blakeley’s skid-steer is an eight foot wide rake, lovingly named the “Klaw”. It adds teeth to Kudzilla.


Kudzu removal in 89 minutes: On September 12 the “Kudzu Kavalry” – Kudzilla, tractor with cultivator, tractor with tiller, and walk-behind bush hog were able to remove the kudzu from a small patch at SPACE in 89 minutes. In previous tests, this combination has removed over 99% of the crowns. An actual count as to this test’s effectiveness will have to wait until next July. You can see Jean Boles’ article and a few photos about this from the Tryon newspaper at




We’ll report in more detail at the GA-EPPC annual meeting in Athens on Nov. 5.


Spartanburg Garden Council initiative: The joint initiative with the Garden Council to encourage garden clubs throughout the city and county to participate in our “Save Our Trees” initiative has worked out well. Bobbie Schoss is leading this initiative for the Garden Council. The Upsy Daisy Garden Club and the Reidville Garden Club have now completed this year’s removal of kudzu on their joint target – the old Reidville Road bridge over the South Tyger River. Sallie Pettigrew leads the Upsy Daisy women and Susan Heckroth is the new President of the Reidville Club. The Tyger River Foundation (Kudzu Captain Julian Hankinson) joins in to make this the first three organization kudzu removal project.


Woodruff Garden Club: Brenda Hayes and the Garden Ellas Garden Club in Woodruff have finished the kudzu removal at their Highway 221 city limits site. Working with these organizations in the county has been fun for us all.


Sumter National Forest project: For the third year we are working to help remove the last survivors in kudzu which has been treated three times with herbicides. This year we are working a 19 acre site near Woodruff under Forest Ranger John Richardson. While the briars make the work hard, it proves what Mary Morrison describes in her article at




Over three hundred kudzu plants per acre had survived the three herbicide sprayings.


Environmental Science classes: Sheila Sistare’s seventh grade class at McCracken Jr. High, Tina Gragg’s class at Chapman Sr. High, and Tonya Foster’s class at Broome Sr. High have all been outside in the past few weeks killing kudzu at infestations close to their campuses. Kudzu Kudos to these teachers and their students.


Highland Neighborhood Report: Leroy Jeter is on the Board of Directors of the Highland Neighborhood Association. Through his leadership and the help of others in the neighborhood – partly bribed by ice cream, Kudzilla and Howard Miller have cleared over an acre of mature kudzu at the corner of Prince Hall Lane and South Forest Avenue. What once was an impenetrable mass of kudzu is beginning to look like a park. Take a look.


Duncan Park Neighborhood: Thus far Peggy Romine, the neighborhood, and the Kudzu Coalition have cleared all the visible kudzu at five sites (Woodside Lane, one by the lake, W. Park Dr., one by the dam, and a small site beside the baseball field) plus reduced the kudzu footprint at  E. Park Dr. Now Peggy has identified two new kudzu infestations. See




for a current listing of all scheduled events. This page is updated several times each week.


Converse Heights Neighborhood: Not to be outdone, Francie Little, Converse Heights’ beautification Captain, and the neighborhood have also been removing that kudzu scourge in site after site. Thus far they have completely eradicated the kudzu at three sites (Otis & Palmetto, one the inside of Brentwood Curve, and one under the Ivy St. tree) while significantly reducing the kudzu at five more sites (Springdale, Glendalyn & Ivy, Ivy St. along the RR bank, Sylvan and Woodburn, and the RR overpass at Woodburn). Work has begun on their new site on Ivy St. at the creek


Kudzu Kollege: Recently we have had students matriculate from as far away as south Georgia, Tryon, NC, and Virginia. If you haven’t attended, sign up now for Oct. 31. The diplomas look great! And your knowledge will be even more impressive!




October 31 is the last one of the year. The kollege staff takes a break in November and December due to the holidays. Back again on Jan. 30.


Trained Kudzu Warriors: We have four graduates from Spartanburg High’s Special Ed program who are well trained in kudzu, ivy, and privet removal. They are available for hire. If you have any of these invasives growing on our property, please consider hiring one of these young men to remove the bad stuff.


Needs: We need another tractor, skid-steer, and mower operator with equipment. Please call me if you have such or know someone who can help.


Thank you: We appreciate all of the individuals and the 140 participating groups supporting this wild and fun endeavor. These are exciting times.


Newt Hardie