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Harris Blackwood: Kudzu causes fussing and cussing in the yard
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Kudzu was introduced to the United States at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. In the 1930s, kudzu was thought to be a wonderful way to control erosion in the South.

It was not.

Kudzu is a vicious, invasive plant. I have seen it take over telephone poles, fences and even completely cover a building.

When we built our house a few years ago, we decided it was time to get rid of the kudzu on our place. Let me tell you, we had a fine crop.

A guy named Earl dug up the kudzu with an excavator. This was the same machine he used to knock down what was left of our burned-out house. There was no resistance from the house.

The kudzu, however, fought back. It even provided an occasional tug-of-war between vine and machine.

Occasionally, a leaf of kudzu will still appear in the grass. It is mean stuff.

A recent report revealed the amount of kudzu is on the decline. Good-bye and good riddance. Between development and some type of pest that is killing it, kudzu is going away. It may not be completely gone, but if this was war, we just might be winning.

The bad news is it may be moving elsewhere. Word is there are signs of kudzu in places such as Oregon.

A friend of mine, Troy Costales, is an official with the Oregon Department of Transportation. If they have a bulldozer, a backhoe, an excavator or even a good sling-blade, I would send some hard-working Oregonians out and dig up every sprig of kudzu they can find.

I realize this might not be a high priority for the highway department, but kudzu will eventually cross the road. Why does kudzu cross the road? To make your life miserable.

Kudzu is so bad the U.S. Department of Agriculture has something called the National Invasive Species Information Center. They might not know how to contain the national debt, but they are working on a way to contain kudzu.

Kudzu is supposed to have some nutritional value and is said to be a key to long life. It has shortened mine. I have fussed, cussed, sprayed and cut at kudzu.

Some of you may be old enough to remember Euell Gibbons, who did commercials for Post Grape-Nuts cereal.

“Ever eat a pine tree?” Euell would ask. “Some parts are edible.”

If you want to eat a pine tree or a patch of kudzu, then help yourself. But let me point out, despite all of his natural eating, Euell Gibbons died at the age of 64.

I don’t know if we will ever see a complete disappearance of kudzu, but I was kind of excited to know there might be a few acres less than before.

When we conquer that, we can tackle fire ants. By the way, they came into the United States in the 1930s through the port of Mobile, Ala. They were brought in on a ship from Brazil.

On behalf of a less-than-grateful South, we offer an acknowledgement to both countries. We will gladly return your gift as soon as possible.


Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on