How to Remove Kudzu
These recommendations are primarily for homeowners and communities that would like to start working in their neighborhood greenspace. For each species, we recommend herbicide-free control methods but have added an herbicide option for some species for those who are comfortable using them. These methods were selected while keeping in mind limiting soil disturbance, reducing herbicide use, and avoiding harm to other species that may be present whether they be other plants/animals. Manual removal is possible for all of them if you have the time. If the infestation is overwhelmingly severe/large, we suggest you look into professional control.
Removal Difficulty: Hard
Removal of this species is rated as hard because removal is possible but difficult without professional treatment.
Cut and Treat
Kudzu quickly climbs mature trees to reach sunlight and can completely cover canopies. To stop this, sever vines at the base of trees. Do not attempt to pull vines down that are above your reach. Cutting at the base will kill the vine above the cut, and they will eventually dry up and fall off.
Kudzu vine climbing up a tree near the forest edge
Use pruners or a hand saw to cut the climbing vine at chest height
Follow vines down to the ground until you find the nodes/crown. Use a handsaw to cut into the node/crown and treat it with herbicide. We use a high concentrate (between 18-50%), glyphosate-based solution, and add in an indicator dye to keep track of what has been treated.. Be sure not to spray the herbicide anywhere but on the woody stem. Treat within 5-10 minutes, otherwise, the wound will dry and the herbicide will not be absorbed.
Pull back vine to get a clean cut, and cut vine as close to the ground as possible
Directly apply herbicide within 5-10 minutes of cutting
Dig Up Crown
If you prefer not to use chemicals, find the node/crown–the bulb-like feature at the top of the root system where energy is stored that many vines stem from–and dig around the crown to remove it from the taproots. Pull up the crown and remove any dirt. This method can be effective but is very labor-intensive. This method causes a lot of soil disturbance and is not ideal on steep slopes or by streams where erosion is a concern.
Hiring a herd of goats or sheep is a great option for an area that is completely covered with Kudzu. They do a tremendous job clearing all of the herbaceous vines. Cutting and treating or digging up kudzu nodes/crowns is much easier with all of the leaves and herbaceous vines cleared. This technique is also used before professional treatment to limit the amount of herbicide used.
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