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How to Plant and Grow Kudzu

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Written by Dena Bolton   



how to plant and grow kudzuIntro:  Believe it or not, someone actually wanted to know how to plant and grow kudzu.  Needless to say, they were not from the South.  My daughter's ex-husband, who was from Arizona, almost brought some kudzu home once to plant.  He thought it was a pretty vine.  (It is should not be any mystery why they did not stay married.)  Kudzu is a fast growing vine native to China and Japan and was introduced into the United States in the late 1800s as fodder for livestock and to prevent soil erosion. In the southern part of the United States, kudzu is known as “the vine that ate the South” and efforts -- rather unsuccessful -- are always being made to eradicate it. Kudzu, however, does have its uses. For instance, herbalists use it to treat high blood pressure and menopausal symptoms. Some people also make jams and jellies from kudzu. For these reasons, you may decide that you want to plant some kudzu for your own use.  Personally, I would just drive along the road and grab some leaves.  I doubt that anyone will mind.  However, if you are curious about how to plant and grow kudzu, read on.

Step 1:  Pick a planting site away from buildings and trees. Kudzu can grow at least 1-foot per day in sun or shade, and the vines can grow to be 100-feet long. You do not want to plant it near anything that it can climb, such as trees and buildings, because it can cover them in a very short period of time.

Step 2:  Clear out a plot of ground with a rake or tiller. There is no need to amend the soil or apply any fertilizer or to even clear the ground that well. Kudzu will grow anywhere in any type of dirt and smother anything in its way.

Step 3:  Toss a piece of vine in the middle of the planting area. That is all you have to do. It also does not really matter how big a piece of the vine you use, though a piece 6-12 inches long will work just fine. The kudzu will take hold without having the vine actually stuck in the dirt.

Step 4:  Water a little. After throwing your piece of kudzu vine on the ground, just give it a quick spray with the hose. It really needs hardly any water at all to take root.

Step 5:  You could also do as a fellow gardening writer told me, which was to just toss a piece of kudzu on the ground and run.

Tips:

•Prune the kudzu daily to control its growth.

Warnings:

•Kudzu can quickly cover trees, even those that are 50-100-feet tall. In addition, the weight of the vines can actually cause the trees to uproot.

•Never plant kudzu anywhere near your house. It will quickly climb up the sides of your house and cover it. It can eventually become so heavy that it can damage the structural integrity of your home.

•Planting a barrier to try to contain the kudzu will not work. It will grow across anything, including sidewalks, roads, and houses.

•Think twice before planting kudzu in your yard. Once kudzu has taken hold in a yard, it is incredibly difficult to eradicate.

•DON'T DO IT!






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