previous
  • 10 Combinations for Shade
    10 Combinations for Shade
  • How to Grow Mustard
    How to Grow Mustard
  • Indoor Seed Starting Materials List
    Indoor Seed Starting Materials List
  • Building Better Borders
    Building Better Borders
  • Get your FREE Everyday Roses download now!
    Get your FREE Everyday Roses download now!
  • Bold and Beautiful Zinnias
    Bold and Beautiful Zinnias
  • Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid
    Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid
  • Go Green on the Patio
    Go Green on the Patio
  • 3 Ways to Design with Containers
    3 Ways to Design with Containers
  • Rex Begonias
    Rex Begonias
  • NEW Video Series: There's a Better Way
    NEW Video Series: There's a Better Way
  • 10 Seed-Starting Tips
    10 Seed-Starting Tips
  • Seed Starting in Speedling Trays
    Seed Starting in Speedling Trays
  • Black Plants Done Right
    Black Plants Done Right
  • Garden Design Basics
    Garden Design Basics
  • Using Containers as Elements of a Design
    Using Containers as Elements of a Design
  • Homegrown / Homemade
    Homegrown / Homemade
  • Planting the Right Way
    Planting the Right Way
  • DIY A-Frame Veggie Trellis
    DIY A-Frame Veggie Trellis
  • Plant Finder: Spring Plants
    Plant Finder: Spring Plants
  • 20 Gardenworthy Self-Sowers
    20 Gardenworthy Self-Sowers
  • Pick Plants for Fragrance
    Pick Plants for Fragrance
next

Killing kudzu

Q: I’ve started gardening and have encountered a daunting problem: kudzu. I’ve tried Roundup, gasoline, digging, and cutting, but it always stays ahead of me. 

Barbara Celtnieks, Wheaton, MD

A: Walter Skroch, emeritus professor of horticulture and specialist in weed science at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, replies: Kudzu is a tenacious plant commonly called “foot-a-day vine.” The best way to control this fast grower is with a pet goat. High in protein, kudzu is great animal feed.

If you’re not up to caring for a goat, the next best way is to contain kudzu’s root growth. This can be done by mowing the kudzu every two to three weeks or by cutting the vine back to the ground whenever it reaches 12 to 18 inches. At first, the kudzu will sprout back quickly. But in time, this will weaken the root system and the plant will die back. Allow up to two years to eliminate kudzu this way.

Like other legumes, kudzu is fairly tolerant to Roundup, but a stronger than recommended solution applied directly to dry leaves can be effective. Using Roundup, which comes as an 18 percent solution, mix 1 part solution with 9 parts water and lightly mist or paint it on the dry leaves. Avoid applying it on a rainy day, because the Roundup needs a minimum of six hours of drying time to be effective. The ideal time for applying Roundup is mid- to late summer, approximately two weeks after the kudzu has bloomed. Apply a second application in four to six weeks, and then again the following summer.

From Fine Gardening 51, pp. 18