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Kudzu is a vine native to Japan which was introduced to the southeastern United States in 1876. It was first used as an ornamental shade plant and later as an erosion control ground cover. Due to its' rapid growth, it can quickly overrun anything in its' path. In 1948 it was estimated that kudzu was growing on 500,000 acres in the Southeast. By 1948 the acreage in Georgia alone was 480,000. Under ideal conditions, kudzu can grow 1 foot per day and up to 100 feet in a single growing season.
This vine is believed to cover more than 7 million acres in the South. That 'Kudzu covers Dixie like the dew' is no idle statement. Propagating at the rate of a foot (or more) a day, kudzu is like a runaway locomotive. I've heard it said that Southern mothers will keep a close eye on their children while they sleep in the summer to keep them from being choked to death by the night creeper vine.....
It's said that a country family went on a two week vacation, and when they returned, the country road which had not been traveled while they were away, was covered with kudzu and they lost their way home......
An escaped prisoner fled into a kudzu patch and is still unaccounted for....
It's not uncommon to see entire trees or telephone poles completely covered by kudzu. Abandoned cars, sheds or even houses can become victims of this powerful parasite. Spanish Moss can't even begin to compete. If the vines were not killed by the frost, the entire South would become a single kudzu field.
So, what good is it? The vine is very popular for basket weaving. It is now 'chic' to display handmade Kudzu art....Kudzu plants produce large ,wisteria like, purple flowers on long racemes, and beans in flat, papery pods covered with a tawny down. The plant is edible, and can be used to make jelly from the flowers, wine, or fried leaves....
The Japanese make a Tofu from the tubers of the root.....Cows love it. Goats love it.We Hate It.. If you ever want to truly get even with a foe.....Send him a packet of Kudzu seed with the written words: Plant Now, Pay Later...........Guaranteed To Grow . Oh My........

Gardening Tips from Down South
How to Grow Kudzu

Choosing a Plot: Kudzu can be grown almost anywhere, so site selection is not the problem it is with some other finicky plants like strawberries. Although kudzu will grow quite well on cement, for best result you should select an area having at least some dirt. To avoid possible lawsuits, it is advisable to plant well away from your neighbors house, unless, of course, you don't get along well with your neighbor anyway.

Preparing the Soil: Go out and stomp on the soil for a while just to get its attention and to prepare it for kudzu.

Deciding When to Plant: Kudzu should always be planted at night. If kudzu is planted during daylight hours, angry neighbors might see you and begin throwing rocks at you.

Selecting the Proper Fertilizer: The best fertilizer I have discovered for kudzu is 40 weight non detergent motor oil. Kudzu actually doesn't need anything to help it grow, but the motor oil helps to prevent scraping the underside of the tender leaves when the kudzu starts its rapid growth. It also cuts down on the friction and lessens the danger of fire when the kudzu really starts to move. Change oil once every thousand feet or every two weeks which ever comes first.

Mulching the Plants: Contrary to what may be told by the Extension Service, kudzu can profit from a good mulch. I have found that a heavy mulch for the young plants produces a hardier crop. For best results, as soon as the young shoots begin to appear, cover kudzu with concrete blocks. Although this causes a temporary setback, your kudzu will accept this mulch as a challenge and will reward you with redoubled determination in the long run.

Organic or Chemical Gardening: Kudzu is ideal for either the organic gardener or for those who prefer to use chemicals to ward off garden pests. Kudzu is oblivious to both chemicals and pests. Therefore, you can grow organically and let the pests get out of the way of the kudzu as best they can, or you can spray any commercial poison directly on your crop. Your decision depends on how much you enjoy killing bugs. The kudzu will not mind either way.

Crop Rotation: Many gardeners are understandably concerned that growing the same crop year after year will deplete the soil. If you desire to change from kudzu to some other plant next year, now is the time to begin preparations. Right now, before the growing season has reached its peak, you should list your house and lot with a reputable real estate agent and begin making plans to move elsewhere. Your chances of selling will be better now than they will be later in the year, when it may be difficult for a prospective buyer to realize that underneath those lush green vines stands an adorable three bedroom house.

Kudzu Recipies

Thanks to these other Kudzu Links for making this page possible!!

Amazing Story of Kudzu

Kudzu Kingdom

How to Grow Kudzu

Growing Kudzu

Kudzu Root

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