Every year about this time someone hears from someone that I rented goats to get rid of the four decades of kudzu that covered what is now part of Patchwork Urban Farms.
I did rent goats but that is not ultimately how I got rid of the kudzu. Read on…
Contrary to popular kudzu fear-mongering…
Kudzu can be removed and controlled with out chemicals or destroying the top soil with heavy equipment. It’s not hard but you do have to be more persistent than the kudzu. It helps to have help. Hiring people to help creates a green jobs!
Who did I call about renting goats?
Things I learned about goats and kudzu:
Here’s how we removed the kudzu vines:
- Since I still had vines, I had to cut those away and bail them up. This is best done with two people. One to roll the bales (preferably down-hill) and one to cut the vines down close to the ground. You can use loppers or a machete.
- Mark each of the crowns with a little flag where the vines were coming up out of the ground. These crowns are usually about 2 -8 inches down in the soil.
- After you have all the vines pulled away and the crowns marked, you can go back with a trench spade and loppers or clippers and cut all those crowns off from the tap root that is connected deeper in the soil to the big kudzu root. I had over 100 crowns on my .12 acre plot. It took 3 of us about 3 sessions of 4 hours each to get all of them cut out.
- You’ll miss a few but you can see them easily and remove them when they start sending out shoots.
- It’s important to do Step #4 because you must deny the root the energy created by photosynthesis so that eventually the root will die too.
- Plant cover crops to compete with all the wonderful pioneer species that will come to fill the void left by what is, essentially, a clear cut. Kudzu is a nitrogen fixer so the soil probably has a pretty healthy nitrogen content. So maybe give it something that will add phosphorous.