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Kudzu

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Where It Came From

Kudzu is a vine from Japan that was introduced to the U. S. in the late 1800s at a garden show.

Where It Invaded

It quickly spread throughout the southeastern states, where the weather was perfect for kudzu growth.

Its Effect

People discovered that animals would graze it. It grew fast along the ground, so could be used to help stop erosion. The government hired men to plant it wherever erosion was an issue. After a while, kudzu began to cause problems. It grew so fast -- a foot a day in summer -- that it began to grow over whole forests, killing trees by blocking their sunlight. It covered barns, houses, fences and power poles. People began to work on trying to control kudzu.

Solutions

They tried herbicides, but found most of them did nothing, while some are thought to actually help kudzu grow. Now people raise goats to eat back the plant. They use kudzu vines to weave baskets, make paper and even hay. There is no easy way to get rid of kudzu. In the summer, people actually close their windows to keep the vine from invading the inside of their houses!

Kudzu

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