15 December 14
Kudzu is a constant vine of the legume family (Fabaceae). Each leaf has three dark green leaflets, 2.75 to 9.84 inches (7 to 25 cm) long, with or without uneven, shallow sections, otherwise entire, hairy beneath. Many quickly growing, hairy vines trail, stretch and loosely twine from a large, central root crown. In late July to September plants in full sun sometimes produce purple flowers up to 0.79 inches (2 cm)] in in long groups. Following flowering, groups of long, bean-like, hairy pods appear, but produce few viable seeds. Vines can have a diameter up to 1 to 1.18 inches (2.5 to 3 cm) in southern states. New growth is soft hairy. Sugars produced in the leaves are transferred to the roots as starch which the roots store in enlarged taproots as impressive as the above-ground structure. Roots can descend 4 meters into sandy loam soils.
Kudzu was originally imported from Japan in 1876 to landscape a garden at the
Japanese Pavilion at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. In the early 1900s, this vine was discovered to be excellent feed for cows, pigs and goats in the South in acidic soils and during droughty seasons. It was also helped as cover for erosion control in gullies. The distribution of kudzu in the United States today extends from Connecticut to Missouri and Oklahoma, south to Texas and Florida. Before 1970, kudzu was planted along Missouri highways to control erosion and some farmers experimented with kudzu for livestock fodder. In Missouri, kudzu has been found locally in Jackson, St. Louis, Howard, Christian, Wayne, Reynolds, Douglas,
Newton, Lawrence, Ralls and Taney counties. Patches have also been sighted along the route of
Old U. S. Highway 66 in Phelps Co. and along U. S. Highway 67 in Madison and St. Francois counties. Fruit production appears to be rare in Missouri, if it occurs at all. Kudzu is not yet listed as a noxious weed in Missouri, but local populations can spread violently if not controlled. Kudzu will grow over anything in its path (other plants, buildings, road signs) and eventually kill other plants it covers because it blocks out sunlight. Kudzu will also tie stems and tree trunks, break branches, and uproot trees and shrubs through the masses of vegetation produced. Kudzu has been reported to grow roughly one foot per day once established.
Total eradication of kudzu is necessary to prevent re-growth. This requires constant monitoring and carefulness when treating. To prevent reestablishment, replanting after treatment is critical. Prevent the production of practical seed and destroy the plant's ability to reproduce vegetative. There’s different ways of eradicating this plant and they are Cultural,
Mechanical, Biological, and Chemical. It all depends on the user is using the Kudzu plant that will dictate on which process is used. In cultural eradication young colonies can be eradicated in three to four years if plants are overgrazed or persistently cut back repeatedly during the hottest temperatures of summer. Close grazing for three to four years can totally eliminate kudzu when at least 80% of the vegetative growth is continuously removed by livestock. An old rule of thumb is 8 goats per acre stocking rate for kudzu control. In Mechanical eradication, the massive root system