Group declares war on kudzu

By Diane Palmer

KudzuKudzu is still doing what it does best: take root, spread and smother all that it covers. But now Master Gardeners in Spartanburg are fighting back. Newt Hardie and Henry Pittman, with the support from the mayor and the Men’s Garden Club, formed the Coalition to Control Kudzu without Herbicides.

The group now has more than 25 demonstration sites in and near the city showing ways to kill the obnoxious vine without using chemicals. These and 15 test plots at the Spartanburg YMCA are tended by local Master Gardeners, Clemson Extension Service and other volunteers.

Their methods include manual removal of the plant’s root crowns and the use of heavy plastic sheeting to kill the weed with heat. Another approach uses a patented kudzu guard that prevents the vine from climbing guy wires and utility poles.

“The demonstration sites show proof that kudzu can be controlled in urban areas,” said Hardie. The methods can be applied to almost any small urban area, including neighborhood corners, sidewalks, fences, creeks and more.

For information: David Parker, 864-596-2993,