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Attack of the kudzu!
No building, tree or telephone pole is safe from it!
Kudzu swallows a house. - photo by Kristen Morales

The beautiful green vines of the kudzu plant that grace our roadways and open fields have a secret - they destroy nearly everything in their path.

From trees and plants, to houses, barns and fences, the vine is a menace for locals.

"It overtakes a plant or tree," said Joel Canada, owner of Canada Construction. "It just branches out and takes out anything in its path - buildings, trees, fences. It's something that is just unreal."

Canada added that it is important to keep kudzu contained so it doesn't spread each year.

Russ England, a Master Gardener with the Georgia Cooperative Extension and a gardening columnist for The Times, is currently destroying one vine at a time while he gardens at the Smithgall Woodland Garden.

"You can cut it at the base and spray the cut stem with Roundup," he said. "I use the 42 percent of active ingredient and am cutting that by 50 percent (with water)."

Hall County Master Gardener Ron Bretcher is lucky to not have any at his home, but he too recommends using Roundup.

"There are several herbicides that are out there that will kill it," he said. "You just have to be careful what you are spraying it on, you don't want to spray it on something you don't want to kill.

"Use most anything with glysphoasate in it; your Roundup products have glysphoasate in it."

Kudzu was introduced from Asia to the United States in the late 1800s to help with erosion control. The deciduous vine can reach lengths of more than 100 feet, according to the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council.

England also said that from reports he has heard, kudzu can grow up to a foot a day.

So it is important to keep your eye on the fast-growing vine before it takes control.

"It is a real problem in several places in Jackson County," said Jimmy Mock, a Jackson County resident and local tree expert. "There are many places in Hall County that have acres of it, it is virtually covering it. Kudzu can literally kill trees if nothing is done.

"They just completely cover the trees and shade it to where photosynthesis cannot take place and over a period of time can kill large acreages of trees."

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