Kudzu Pueraria montana
IDENTIFICATION — Known as “the vine that ate the South,” this perennial weed thrives in USDA zones 5 to 11 from Florida to Oklahoma and north to Connecticut and Illinois. Kudzu can grow up to a foot a day, eventually stretching to 100 ft. long. Stems can grow to be 4 in. thick. The dense layer of leaves smothers other plants and the weight of this vine can break branches and uproot trees. Usually kudzu spreads by rooting along the stem, not from seed.
FAVORITE CONDITIONS — Originally grown as an ornamental and fodder plant, kudzu has escaped. It grows in full sun and any type of soil, although it prefers acid to neutral soil.
CONTROL — Systemic herbicides like Roundup® are the quickest and most effective method of control. Follow label directions and apply in early fall to cut stems. Keep an eye on the area, and apply the herbicide as needed for at least 10 years to make sure kudzu is gone for good.