The Q&A Archives: How To Stop Kudzu

Question: Kudzu has taken over our hillside and trees. We finally got most of it cut away, but what do we do if it comes back? It is still on the hillside down from our house, but that hillside belongs to someone else. Where does kudzu come from, and how can we eradicate it permanently?

Answer: Kudzu was introduced to this country as an ornamental vine at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, and has established itself as a particularly noxious weed. In the past, kudzu was widely planted for erosion control and for use as a forage crop. This vine spreads rapidly and can grow up to 60 feet per year. In addition, its seeds are
also spread by birds.

Like many weeds, there are a number of ways to help control it, but it is difficult to eradicate. Repeated cutting back will eventually weaken the roots, but this will take some time. There are some relatively non-toxic herbicides, such as Weed-Aside, an herbicidal soap (Garden's Alive, and glyphosate, commonly sold as Round-Up. These can help you in your control efforts, but they must be used carefully, following the instructions on the label, to avoid damaging desirable plants.

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