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USA Today, September 28, 1998, South Carolina

Aiken - An insect called the soybean looper caterpillar may effectively control the spread of a green Kudzu weed that has taken over land, trees and telephone poles near the Savannah River, federal officials say. Herbicides and shading techniques have not eradicated Kudzu, introduced in the U.S. more than a century ago.

New York Times, September 7, 1997
War on Kudzu Weed, a Scientific Strategy, by Rick Bragg

"The way you handle something down here is you eat it," Thomas said. "But you'd have to eat fast," and kudzu has never really caught on as a food source for humans. Cows like it. That is how Williams handles it now, in Alabama. But it takes great patience. Cows have to graze it down to the roots for two years to kill it, "but you still see it" creeping, he said.

I am originally from Louisiana. Kudzu is the fastest growing plant I have ever seen. It grows about 2 feet/day. It grows so fast you can literally see it grow. It grows in anything. You can't kill it. Nothing works. I believe it would even grow in gasoline. You can wipe out one spot, dig down until you think you have gotten it all and two weeks later it pops up 50/100 feet or more away. It just infests the ground. I have no idea of how deep you would have to go to get it all, and believe me I have seen people try. It is a 24 hr. a day job.

I have seen whole farms destroyed because once you get it you can't seem to get rid of it. I actually saw it pull a house level with the ground in less than a year. It is almost impossible to get rid of. Gas, insecticide, fire, pesticide, herbicide all seem to have no effect. I know. I have tried. The house was abandoned because the owners could not fight the Kudzu. You see it is a vine that travels underground. The vines don't just cover they actually pull with a force. Imagine a telephone post. You can see a vine cover it but can you really imagine the force that it would take to pull it down. That is exactly what Kudzu does to telephone poles and anything else it latches on to. I never went digging around to see if the boards were still intact under the Kudzu but my family always assumed that the Kudzu had some enzyme that broke down the building material.

I think this can be used as food for both animals and humans because of its fast growth potential but I think that one must be very careful. It could not be used in any type of mud/wood/brick structure. It would dismantle it leveling the ground as it went. Concrete could be used but any small cracks would attract the suckers or tendrils. Once they get a hold, the pulling would start. From the bottom the roots would start to push until the flooring gave way. The pressure would not stop. I know there is a way to make a dwelling Kudzu proof but it will take a great deal of planning.

Offered by Pat.

It takes over the landscape. In the SE, forests go under and die, the vines climbing up and over the trees, and the coverage is not just a couple inches thick, so you could walk through it, it's several feet thick and the trash under is covered. Buildings get covered. Can't walk through it, etc. It's the monster that threatens to cover the South East US! It brings down forests. I mean brings down! It climbs up and all over a tree, killing it as not a ray of sunshine gets through, and then the tree rots and topples. The weight of all the Kudzu, and the kudzu vines that string like spider web between the trees too, help flatten the landscape. all natural vegetation, man maintained or otherwise, disappears. All manmade structures other than sky scrapers also disappear.

Kudzu doesn't just sent up cute little tendrils and curl all by themselves. It is such an aggressive plant that it winds along its own tendrils, as the best place to crawl along. In short order, it has created a web, like a spider web, of vines. As the new vines reach out and attach, this would have the effect of pulling anything else that the web was attached to! At first the web is light in weight, then heavier. Also, the vines attach by tendrils curling about, and the very curling motion is a pull, perhaps. Like touching and then making a fist around something. Making the fist may pull towards the arm. It was brought into the US from Japan, my understanding, and outside of its natural environment went crazy. They can't stop it. Can't get rid of it. And in due time there will be no orange trees or peach tree groves, no dogwoods under the pine forests - just kudzu.

Offered by Nancy.