Vine redirection is a method for controlling kudzu whenever it is not possible to kill the plant. For example, while defending against the invasion of kudzu across a property line. In this case offensive measures (killing methods) are not possible. Another example is an area of kudzu on a property that is too large to eliminate the kudzu. In this case defensive measures keep kudzu from spreading. By "control line" is meant either a property line (as in the first example), or a border marking a defense line against the spread of kudzu (as in the second example).
In this method kudzu vines are manually turned-back to grow in the opposite direction, back across the control line to its source. Long vines are simply picked up and flopped back over the control line ("vine roll-back or lay-back"). A folding pruning saw, or other two-foot hand tool, makes this easier by extending arm reach: Less stooping-over is necessary, and is a back saver. Shorter vines have a tendency to flop back to their original position during roll-back, so these are stepped-on during roll-back to prevent this from happening ("vine roll-back and step").
Mowing or using a string trimmer are faster methods for keeping kudzu under control (see Buffer Zones). However, terrain sometimes prohibits mowing. And any method involving the cutting of vines, such as using a string trimmer, actually stimulates the growth of multiple vines for each vine cut (see Auxin). Note that vine redirection requires no special equipment, avoids stimulating vine growth, and some people find it a pleasant activity!
As with all defensive methods, vine redirection is successful only when it is persistently applied. Patrolling the control-line to redirect new vine growth is necessary every two-weeks during the growing season, or more frequently if vines root in less time. Otherwise vine-nodes might form strong roots, and it becomes possible that pulling the vine up manually might split the vine, leave a crown behind, and allow new vines to form from the rooted crown.
The photograph below shows a newly graded embankment near the Coalition's test site, which was planted with grass by the city. The kudzu below the embankment began to invade the embankment. As a demonstration of vine redirection, the Coalition divided the embankment into sections with different treatments: From left to right, the white signs indicate "Vine Redirect (Defense)", "No Treatment, Natural", "Vine Roll Back and Step", and "Natural, No Treatment". The sections kept free of kudzu by vine redirection are obvious in the photograph. July 2006.
A closeup of the section (looking down the embankment, towards Coalition's test plots) where the vines are rolled-back shows that the grass is free of the surrounding kudzu. The pink ribbon (left) shows the border between two plots. July 2006.
A closeup of an untreated section (looking down the embankment, towards the test plots) shows kudzu invading the grass. July 2006.
By early August 2006 the control/no-control zones created a strikingly banded pattern on the hillside, as shown in the next photograph. The Coalition requested that herbicide not be applied by the city to kill the kudzu, so the experiment could continue through the summer. A new paved walking and bicycling path is located at the top of the embankment, so two-sided Coalition signs inform the public of the experiment.