The U.S. Department of Agriculture is issuing a warning — kudzu, sometimes referred to as the “Vine That Ate the South,” is on the move.
Kudzu, which has been a problem in the South for decades is spreading west and north, even as far as Canada, the USDA reports.
Dr. Lewis Ziska of the USDA Agricultural Research Service said, “It’s just one of those really nasty vines that literally grows almost foot a day under proper conditions. One of the things that has kept kudzu in check in the past has basically been cold winters. And as the winters warm kudzu is essentially migrating northward and so you’re seeing it in locations where it hasn’t been seen in the past.
Kudzu was planted in the South in the 1920s and 1930s to fight soil erosion. While the vine does check soil erosion, it is otherwise worthless and damaging.
“It basically eliminates all of the other species,” Ziska said. “There’s only going to be kudzu. Kudzu is also a host for soybean rust. Kudzu is a sort of a super weed if you will. One that we need to really keep an eye on and one that we need to come up with new ways to try and detect and of course to try and manage and that’s really, truly difficult.”