Kudzu K111805 

Kudzu Photo
Kudzu (Pueraria montana, formerly P. lobata and P. thunbergiana) is a twining, trailing, and mat-forming woody vine.

IDENTIFICATION: Woody vines to 10 inches in diameter reaching 100 feet. Trailing or climbing by twining on objects less than 4 inches in diameter, frequent branching, young stems yellow-green with dense-erect golden hairs and upward matted silver hairs. Ages rope-like, light gray, and hairless, and eventually rough barked, rigid, and usually dark-brown. Three-leaflet leaves. Leaves and small vines aredeciduous, dying with first frost. Large semi-woody tuberoots reaching depths of 3-1.

Long, pea-type flowers with petals lavender to wine-colored from June - September. Dry, flattened legume pod (bulging above the seeds), 1.25-3 in. long and 0.3-0.5 in. wide, green ripening to tan with stiff golden brown hairs, splitting to release a few ovoid seeds.

ECOLOGY: Legume and nitrogen fixer. Forms dense mats over the ground, debris, shrubs, and trees, with matted dead leaves persistent during winter. Occurs in old infestations, along rights-of-way and stream banks. Colonizes by vines rooting at nodes; spreads by seeds dispersed by wind, animals, and water. Seed viability variable.

HERBICIDE CONTROL: Apply foliar sprays of Tordon 101 as a 3% solution in water (12 ounces per 3-gal. mix) or Tordon K as a 2% solution (8 ounces per 3-gal. mix) in water with a surfactant to wet foliage until run-off in July to October for successive years (Tordon herbicides are Restricted Use Pesticides). Spray foliage of climbing vines as high as possible. When using Tordon herbicides, rainfall must occur within 6 days after application for needed soil activation. Other options provide partial control and may be useful in specific situations. Apply Escort at 3-4 ounces per acre in water (0.8-1.2 dry ounces per 3-gal. mix) to foliage from July to September. For areas where minimal injury to other plants is desired, apply Transline as a 0.5% solution in water (2 ounce per 3-gal. mix) with a surfactant to thoroughly wet all leaves and stems in July to September. A glyphosate herbicide or Garlon 4 as 4% solutions (1 pint per 3-gal. mix) in water with a surfactant can be used during the growing season with repeated applications.

WARNING: The soil activity of Tordon herbicides and Escort can kill or damage plants having roots within the treated area. Always read and follow label directions carefully.

Photo and Text Credit: Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests, James Miller, 2004,

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Additional Resources:
-Invasive Plant Council