Like a houseguest who overstays their welcome, invasive species can be a hassle to get rid of — but with some persistence, it is possible to clear them out.
One Redditor took to the r/gardening subreddit to ask for help fighting one of these relentless adversaries.
“What do y’all do to combat kudzu?” the frustrated homeowner asked. “I know regular mowing and physical removal works, but that’s not always possible over huge area, especially when there are still lots of trees and what not.”
Kudzu — also known as “the invasive vine that ate the South” — is native to Japan and southeast China. According to The Nature Conservancy, kudzu was brought to the U.S. in 1876, and from the 1930s to the ’50s, it was widely spread through the South as a way to control soil erosion. Little did they know that the viney monster had bigger plans.
Growing at a rate of one foot per day once established, it doesn’t take long for kudzu to take over a huge area.
Invasive species have devastating effects on ecosystems. They outcompete native species for food and water, resulting in a loss of biodiversity. One report warned of “multibillion-dollar losses and extinctions” caused by invasives worldwide, with economic costs going over $400 billion a year, according to El País.
Other Redditors offered some solutions in the comments.
“I moved from [Tennessee] to [Pennsylvania],” one person joked as their solution. Another Redditor responded, “To escape the plants in your garden? You are committed.” It turns out the original commenter had relocated for a job, but they said they “considered the kudzu solution as a relocation bonus.”
One commenter had some constructive advice that didn’t require moving to another state: “I cut the branches as far down as I can. Kills the vine above it. But it’s a constant battle.” While another added, “… and dig up the roots.”
The Nature Conservancy echoes that advice and adds that you could carefully treat it with a herbicide. However, spraying toxic chemicals in your yard should be a last-ditch effort.
If you’re looking for an easier way to keep invasives in check, you might want to give goats a chance. “Goatscaping” is a popular trend for people who want to naturally clear large areas of vegetation, especially invasive species like kudzu and English ivy, or even dangerous plants like poison ivy.
“If you want to start from bare ground goats are a great option. Cute too,” one person commented on the post.
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