Coastal Invasive Species Committee

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Kudzu

PREVENT

kudzu1

Pueraria montana

Family: Fabaceae (Pea).

Other Common Names: Foot-a-night vine, Ko-hemp.

Origin: Eastern Asia.

Growth Form/Reproduction: Climbing, trailing deciduous woody vine. Spreads primarily by rooting at stem nodes, seeds occasionally produced.

Legal Status: Community Charters Act.

Impacts:

Agricultural: Threat to timber and agricultural crops. Provides forage for grazing animals.
Ecological: Invaders semi-natural and natural habitat in United States; displaces native grass and forbs, kills existing trees and shrubs and competes with new tree seedlings.
Human: Infestations decrease property value and reduce recreational access. Important herb in traditional Chinese medicine; originally used as landscape ornamental.

Habitat: Requires full sun and abundant moisture. Adapted to a wide range of conditions and soil types but best adapted to deep, well-drained, sandy soils on disturbed sites. Grows in abandoned fields and urban lots, roadsides, forest edges, fields, croplands and pastures.

Status and Distribution: No occurrences of kudzu in BC or the CIPC area. Spot infestations present in Oregon and Washington.

Management Strategy: Kudzu is extremely difficult to control once established; early detection and rapid response is the main management focus. Small populations can be controlled by digging out all the root crowns that grow along the vines at the stem nodes, or the plants can be exhausted repeatedly defoliating the plant through mowing or brush cutting. Plants can also be covered under deep (30-60 cm) mulch or plastic sheeting to deplete root reserves. Grazing animals (cows, sheep, goats, and horses) can control small infestations. Herbicides are the only practical control for large infestations with 5-10 years of follow up monitoring and spot treatment. Dicamba or glyphosate is usually sprayed onto foliage once the plants are actively growing. Stem treatments can be used on smaller infestations or on climbing vines. No biocontrols are available.