The myth of kudzu has indeed swallowed the South, but the actual vine’s grip is far more tenuous. Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A writer for Deep South Magazine recently gushed that kudzu is “the ultimate icon for the South...an amazing metaphor for just about every issue you can imagine within Southern Studies.” One blogger, surveying the kudzu-littered literature of the modern South, dryly commented that all you have to do to become a Southern novelist is “throw in a few references to sweet tea and kudzu.”. This process is ongoing, so repeat yearly until the kudzu plant dies. And though many sources continue to repeat the unsupported claim that kudzu is spreading at the rate of 150,000 acres a year—an area larger than most major American cities—the Forest Service expects an increase of no more than 2,500 acres a year. Repeated applications are usually required to kill every root crown. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that while vulnerable species are primarily in the Southeast, most lands protected as federal and state parks are in the West. Kudzu was introduced into gardens in the early 1900s and was later used for forage. For many, the vivid depictions of kudzu had simply become the defining imagery of the landscape, just as palms might represent Florida or cactus Arizona. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. Cope spoke of kudzu in religious terms: Kudzu, he proclaimed on his Depression-era broadcasts, would make barren Southern farms “live again.” There were hundreds of thousands of acres in the South “waiting for the healing touch of the miracle vine.”. Each flower is on a separate petiole that connects to the stem. The tender nature of kudzu leaves and the large tuber roots make kudzu difficult to control. Today, it frequently appears on popular top-ten lists of invasive species. Native Range: Kudzu is found throughout Asia, including China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. But its mythic rise and fall should alert us to the careless secondhand way we sometimes view the living world, and how much more we might see if we just looked a little deeper. Only vines more than a yard above the ground in full sun will flower in late summer, and few fruiting pods develop viable seeds. You will … Plant Control:Mature patches of Kudzu can be difficult to contain let alone control. Kudzu has the ability to cycle nitrogen through the soil and the air at a rate higher than many other plants, and research has found that nitrogen rates are higher in areas where kudzu is plentiful. But, in fact, it rarely penetrates deeply into a forest; it climbs well only in sunny areas on the forest edge and suffers in shade. What Are Kudzu Bugs and Where the Heck Did They Come From. It was planted with the idea that it could be a solution for soil erosion, but its aggressive spread has proven to be a growing problem rather than an ecological solution, and it's considered an invasive species in the South. So where did the more fantastic claims of kudzu’s spread come from? There is a spot of yellow on each stem of flowers. Kudzu is most prolific in areas where winters are mild (40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (4-16 °C)), summer temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 °C), the growing season is long, and annual precipitation is > 40 inches (1,000 mm) [51,66]. Vote Now! In the 1930s and 40s, with the country in the throes of the Great Depression and aftermath of the Dust Bowl, kudzu … Provides kudzu resources from sources with an interest in the prevention, control, or eradication of invasive species. Introduced in the late nineteenth century from Asia, it now covers more than a quarter million acres in Alabama and more than seven million acres in other southeastern states, swallowing up abandoned buildings and farms. It is also native to the south Pacific region, including Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. I’d walk an extra mile to avoid patches of it and the writhing knots of snakes that everyone said were breeding within. Kudzu is a perennial vine hailing from the pea family. So if the all-consuming-kudzu myth is wrong, where did it come from? Kudzu thrives through drought and hot temperatures, but continuous removal of all vegetative parts during extreme weather will kill kudzu over time. They were half way across the world in Asia, their native region. Kudzu is a perennial climbing vine native to eastern Asia that was recently found in Leamington, Ontario. It cannot be over emphasized that total eradication of kudzu is necessary to prevent re-growth. I had no reason to doubt declarations that kudzu covered millions of acres, or that its rampant growth could consume a large American city each year. When you attempt to hand-pull or dig out th… Wilson, the American biologist and naturalist at Harvard, says the central Gulf Coast states “harbor the most diversity of any part of eastern North America, and probably any part of North America.” Yet when it comes to environmental and conservation funding, the South remains a poor stepchild. While you can find kudzu vine almost anywhere in the South by taking a drive on a country road, kudzu root is probably most popular by way of a supplement or as kudzu root tea that can be found at most health fo… Kudzu was introduced into the US in 1878 from Japan as a Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and New Orleans in 1883 during an exposition. By the early 1940s, Cope had started the Kudzu Club of America, with a membership of 20,000 and a goal of planting eight million acres across the South. Cookie Policy As with most aggressive exotic species, eradication requires persistence in monitoring and thoroughness in treating patches during a multi-year program. They have alternate and compound leaves, with three wide leaflets with hairy margins. “The Vine that ate the South” is no longer just a southern problem either. Kudzu came from Japan.kudzu was brought over from Japan to prevent erosion during WWII. It was an invasive that grew best in the landscape modern Southerners were most familiar with—the roadsides framed in their car windows. Spray the herbicide onto kudzu in spring when it is most vulnerable after winter dormancy. 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