WHERE IT BECAME INVASIVE: During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control in the southeastern United States. Hundreds men were given work planting thousands of acres of kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. By 1934 the Civilian Conservation Corps workers had planted over 85 million kudzu seedlings. Farmers were paid as much as eight dollars an acre as incentive to plant fields of the vine in the 1940s. Kudzu was declared a common weed of the south by the USDA in 1970. Kudzu is found all over the southeastern United States, covering up to an estimated 7 million acres.
IMPACTS: The kudzu can out compete and eliminate native plants and destroy the natural diversity of plant and animal communities. Kudzu grows rapidly, up to 60 feet per year in ideal conditions, eliminating out competing vegetation in sunny areas. Climbing vines may completely cover and shade out trees. The weed