First deemed as the perfect solution for erosion control, kudzu may now be the most hated word to gardeners and farmers in the southern United States. This plant, native to Japan, stretches and expands across pastures, fields and gardens, its vines smothering and choking everything in their path including native species, wild spaces and even structures. Kudzu can grow 12 feet a day, eventually reaching more than 100 feet. To say it is an issue is an understatement. So how do you get rid of it?
How To Get Rid Of Kudzu
Kudzu can grow anywhere. It loves heat and poor soil conditions don’t slow it down. It is perennial and has deep roots which are nearly impossible to dig out. The plant’s physiology, the main crown with smaller crowns that can sprout on their own, means simply pulling it out of the ground isn’t the best way to deal with it. Because of the plant’s makeup, it all must be killed or it can easily return. Your best option is to mow or cut it back then hit it hard with a chemical herbicide.
The Best Products To Use
Brush killers and systemic herbicides can both aid in your fight against kudzu. Each type has its own strengths to get the job done.
A brush killer with triclopyr, like BRUSHTOX, controls woody plants like kudzu but won’t harm most established grasses, making it ideal to use on rangeland and permanent grass pastures. BRUSHTOX is a concentrated herbicide that kills more than 60 woody plants, like kudzu and mesquite, and more than 30 tough broadleaf weeds like Canada thistle and dog fennel.
To use BRUSHTOX to manage kudzu, apply it at one quart per acre with a tank sprayer, repeating the application as necessary. BRUSHTOX can be applied to foliage, a freshly-cut stump or to the bottom 12-inches of a woody trunk. Always wear personal, protective equipment, like long-sleeved shirts and chemical-resistant gloves, and read the label carefully. The timing of a BRUSHTOX application is critical to achieving the best results. Use tools like the USDA Planting Zones Guide for temperature and weather conditions for application timing to achieve optimum control of kudzu.
RM43, your go-to for most weed control, can also kill kudzu. It is a combination of 43 percent glyphosate herbicide and a surfactant. Use it as an alternative to BRUSHTOX but only on non-crop areas as RM43 kills both weeds and grasses.
Apply RM43 with a hand-operated sprayer or an ATV/tractor mounted sprayer mixed with six ounces of the product per gallon of water. RM43 needs to be applied to foliage to work, so make sure some exists after mowing the kudzu down. Don’t mow the area for at least two months following the treatment.
Stay Kudzu Free
Persistence is key when it comes to eradicating kudzu. It may take repeat applications, and even a couple seasons, to get this noxious weed completely under control. Continue to treat the area and you will eventually be rewarded with a kudzu-free pasture, field or garden.
As always, our products at Ragan & Massey are here to help you get the job done.