View Full Version : Uh oh - kudzu in Canada?

09-24-2009, 07:06 AM
From what I've read & seen it seems our best 'management strategy' would be to nuke this stuff where it's growing - immediately!

***'Vine that ate the South' has landed in the Great White North

.It moves quickly, stretching across the countryside and engulfing trees, fences and homes.

Growing by as much as a foot per day, it reaches up hydro poles and across transmission wires, eventually collapsing them under its weight. It overtakes and suffocates trees and crops, pollutes watersheds and costs the U.S. agriculture industry a reported $500-million per year.

And now, the perennial and invasive kudzu vine has made it to Canada.

The kudzu was discovered two months ago in a small patch, 110 metres wide and 30 metres deep, on a south-facing slope on the shore of Lake Erie near Leamington, Ont., about 50 kilometres east of Windsor.

"It gets into a landscape and just takes over, and excludes just about everything else," said Rowan Sage, an ecology professor at the University of Toronto. "Once they [kudzu plants] get established and become endemic, they're just catastrophic."

Ecologist Gerald Waldron made the Leamington find while walking along the beach. He spotted the kudzu instantly, having read about its destructive expansion in the southeastern United States - where the voracious plant, imported from Japan and used to fight erosion, is now known as "the vine that ate the South."

A report in Science Daily pegs the U.S. cost of fighting the kudzu at $500-million annually in herbicides and lost crops. Meanwhile, Leamington, known for its tomatoes, is one of Ontario's most lush farming regions.

"We've got a lot of good fertile land. I'm sure we're going to be monitoring it," said John Adams, mayor of the Municipality of Leamington.

"We will continue to monitor that piece in Leamington there," said Albert Tenuta, a field crop plant pathologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. A sample of the patch was sent for testing in Ottawa to ensure it isn't carrying soybean rust.

There are about 440 invasive plants in Ontario, said Rachel Gagnon of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council. And "kudzu is definitely one of the worst," she said.

The kudzu could be managed, or even harvested. Prof. Sage wrote an academic paper exploring its use in biofuels. But if Ontario wishes to defeat the kudzu, officials must meet it head-on with mowers and everyday herbicides, he said.***


For the last couple of years, I've eatched with morbid fascination the spread of black dog strangling vine, (Vincetoxicum nigrum), in a nearby area - stuff is creepy looking enough to give you nightmares. Kudzu sounds like its big brother on steroids.

09-24-2009, 07:30 AM
didn't know it would grow that far north...go figure.

Speaking as a true Southerner, you have my condolences.....:cool:

09-24-2009, 07:35 AM
I just check & it can survive USDA zone 5. I live in zone 6. Potentially, IF it's spread here vegetatively, it can take hold. I was surprised - thought it needed a warmer climate.

09-24-2009, 08:19 AM
Canada should do an emergency removal now. Even if it means using truck loads of defoliant, encircle it and kill everything plant in the circle.

Use some of those firefighting plane and spray the place.

Most people don't know how invasive that stuff can be.

If the area is fenced, let goats after it. They love the stuff and clean it out including ripping the runners out of the ground.

There are special companies which rent goat herds for kudzu work. Put 5-10 in the fenced area, leave them for a month or two and you have fat goats at the end.

Ought Six
09-24-2009, 04:04 PM
I am not surprised. Kudzu is native to Japan, which does not exactly have a tropical climate.

Mama Alanna
09-24-2009, 05:21 PM
we have some that has spread from the neighbor's yard. Every few weeks we have to clear it out. I sprayed it heavily with roundup last fall. The kudzu just laughed at it. :(

09-24-2009, 08:08 PM
Gawd - I can't believe anyone would be dumb enough to plant it! So we've got that to deal with now? Dog strangle, some Korean shrub like thing whose name escapes me right now - stalks grow like stink & almost look like bamboo - what's next?

09-24-2009, 09:43 PM
Gawd - I can't believe anyone would be dumb enough to plant it!

Maybe not. Birds may eat the seeds, migrate to the area, defacate, then the seeds are "planted" on the ground with ready fertilizer.

Additionally, cars pick up the shoots, throw them into the wheel well, then drop off somewhere, blown to the side of the road and take off.

09-25-2009, 02:11 AM
Makes sense & I understand the roots simply have to THINK about it & they take hold. I'm still uprooting a garden thug I mistakenly planted last year & it doesn't nearly have the appetite kudzu does.

09-25-2009, 08:29 AM
This is why we usually see it growing down the roads (cars) or near water (birds).

When you cut and haul away you have to use some kind of tarp or other cover to keep it from bl0wing out and onto the road. This is why most people just burn it in place or let the goats eat it. (Seeds don't make it through goats like they do birds.)

09-26-2009, 01:31 AM
The climate zones have moved north in the last couple decades. We should probably come to terms with Kudzu, it is one species that is thriving in new areas.

If you look at http://www.arborday.org/media/mapchanges.cfm , the northern USA border has some significant changes. I wish the map extended into Canada.

09-26-2009, 10:40 AM
Thanks, FD. As I suspected, we have changed to zone 5 from 4. I can tell because I'm within view of the US border. I've been growing lots of things here that I shouldn't have been able to.

Don't like the implications of that with kudzu, though.

09-26-2009, 10:48 AM
We were formerly a USDA 5A & now clearly run at 6A. I've been able to grow 6B plants in locations not at all sheltered. That will have a lot of implications for flora & fauna - it's already leading to changes.

09-27-2009, 11:16 PM
I am gonna get a goat one of these days.
They seem like the best answer for most weeds.

09-28-2009, 06:46 AM
Soil improvement and preservation

Kudzu has been used as a form of erosion control and also to enhance the soil. As a legume, it increases the nitrogen in the soil via a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil.[3] Its deep taproots also transfer valuable minerals from the subsoil to the topsoil, thereby improving the topsoil. In the deforested section of the Central Amazon Basin in Brazil, it has been used to improve the soil pore-space in clay latosols and thus freeing even more water for plants than in the soil prior to deforestation.[4]
Animal feed

Kudzu can be used by grazing animals as it is high in quality as a forage and greatly enjoyed by livestock. It can be enjoyed up until frost and even slightly after. Kudzu hay typically has a 15–18% crude protein content and over 60% total digestible nutrient value. The quality of it decreases, however, as vine content increases relative to the leaf content. Kudzu also has low forage yields despite its great deal of growth, yielding around two to four tons of dry matter per acre annually. It is also difficult to bale due to its vining growth and its slowness in shedding water. This makes it necessary to place kudzu hay under sheltered protection after being baled. Kudzu is readily consumed by all types of grazing animals, yet frequent grazing over 3 to 4 years can ruin stands. Thus kudzu only serves well as a grazing crop on a temporary basis.[5]

The Harvard Medical School is studying kudzu as a possible way to treat alcoholic cravings, by turning an extracted compound from the herb into a medical drug.[6] The mechanism for this is not yet established, but it may have to do with both alcohol metabolism and the reward circuits in the brain.

Kudzu also contains a number of useful isoflavones, including daidzein (an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent). Daidzin is a cancer preventive and genistein (an antileukemic agent). Kudzu is a unique source of the isoflavone puerarin. Kudzu root compounds can affect neurotransmitters (including serotonin, GABA, and glutamate.) It has shown value in treating migraine and cluster headache.[7] It is recommended for allergies and diarrhea.[8]

Research in mice models suggests that kudzu is beneficial in women for control of some post-menopausal symptoms, such as hypertension and diabetes type II.[9]

In traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as gé gēn (Chinese: 葛根), kudzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is used to treat tinnitus, vertigo, and Wei syndrome (superficial heat close to the surface).[citation needed]

The roots contain starch, which has traditionally been used as a food ingredient in East Asia.
Other uses

In the Southern United States, kudzu is used to make soaps, lotions, jelly, and compost.[10] It has even been suggested that kudzu may become a valuable asset for the production of cellulosic ethanol.[11]


09-28-2009, 06:55 AM
Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo.Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo. Kill the kudzo.

09-28-2009, 07:10 AM

Mama Alanna
09-29-2009, 09:37 PM
Kudzu will even smother out wild blackberries.

09-29-2009, 10:43 PM

Introduction to Kudzu
The three parts of the kudzu plant that are edible are the:

Young leaves and vine tips,

Flower blossoms, and


Look for a kudzu plant that is NOT near a highway where it will be contaminated by dust and automobile exhaust fumes. Also avoid kudzu that has been sprayed with deadly chemicals to control the growth of the evasive plant.

Beware of insects, birds, spiders, and wild animals that frequently live in kudzu patches. Talk loudly when approaching a kudzu patch to give the critters a chance to depart before you arrive. Bees also love the flower blossoms so do not provoke them.

Wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, shoes, gloves, and a hat when harvesting kudzu.

AVOID poison ivy and poison oak, which resembles kudzu.


Kudzu Leaves and Vine Tips
In the early spring and throughout the growing season, harvest the very end of an established kudzu vine where the new growth is forming small shoots and young leaves (called runners). Only the young leaves and vine tips are tender enough for human consumption. The older leaves and vines are too tough for the human digestive system.

Wash the kudzu thoroughly in cool water. Then soak the kudzu for 20 minutes in some clean cool water with a little salt added. Rinse and drain. Process immediately or store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

Kudzu leaves have a soft fuzz on them. The fuzz is offensive to most people when eaten raw. The fuzz wilts quickly when cooked. Therefore, briefly dip the fresh leaves in some boiling water and then immediately dip in cold water. The fuzz will wilt, the appearance of the leaves will change, but the taste will not have changed.

Kudzu Leaf Recipes

Kudzu leaves and tender vine tips may be boiled the same way you boil spinach.

Boiled kudzu leaves mix well with other cooked greens including spinach and young poke sallet leaves. (Note: Young poke sallet leaves must be boiled three times in clean water prior to eating.)

Boiled kudzu leaves blend well with cooked rice and many cooked wild meats.

Fresh kudzu leaves may be processed in a pressure cooker following a spinach canning recipe, and stored in canning jars for future consumption.


Kudzu Flower Blossoms
Kudzu blooms from late July through September, depending on the climate and location. The most common species in the United States has magenta and reddish purple flowers that resemble a wisteria. A less common variety has white blossoms.

Kudzu flowers smell like ripe grapes. However, the blossoms do NOT taste like grapes. They have a unique flavor that is just a little bit sweet.

The flowers are sometimes hidden behind the green leaves. Pick the flowers when they are dry (not covered with the morning dew or rain). You may just pick the flowers, but it is usually easier to cut the entire flower raceme of blossoms and then remove the individual flowers later. Wash the flowers gently but thoroughly in cool water and then drain. They will remain fresh for one day. Or freeze them for future consumption.

Kudzu Flower Salad
Kudzu flowers may be eaten plain or as part of a salad or other dish.

Kudzu Flower Tea
Pour a cup of boiling water over 1/4 cup fresh flowers and let it steep for 4 or 5 minutes. Strain and drink.

Kudzu Flower Wine
4 quarts well water 6 quarts fresh kudzu blossoms yeast
4 cups sugar 1 gallon jug 1 balloon

Pick kudzu blossoms when they are dry (mid-day). Rinse in running water to remove any foreign particles, dirt, or dust. Pour three quarts of boiling water over the blossoms and stir. Put a lid on the container and stir twice a day for four days.
Strain the liquid through a clean cloth. Press the blossoms to get all the liquid from them. Add four cups sugar. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Pour the dissolved yeast into the liquid. Stir well. Cover and let it stand for five days. Then transfer to a one-gallon jug. Add enough well water to bring the liquid within two inches below the neck of the jug. Attach the balloon to the top of the jug. Place jug in a cool dark place that is between 65° F to 75° F.
Periodically gently loosen the balloon and allow the gas to escape and then replace the balloon firmly on the neck of the jug. In approximately six weeks the balloon will stop expanding and the wine is done. Strain the wine through a clean cloth and transfer it to airtight bottles. (Optional: Drop five raisins into each one-gallon bottle.) Cork each bottle tightly. Allow it to sit for an additional six to twelve months before drinking.


Kudzu Roots
Kudzu roots are normally harvested in the winter months. Only a kudzu root that was started from a seedling will produce a root that contains a good quantity and quality of starch. Good kudzu starch roots may weigh up to 200 pounds and be as long as 8 feet. The vast majority of kudzu roots are formed when an established vine touches the ground. Most of the roots growing near the surface are NOT high quality. Most kudzu roots look like tree roots and are NOT edible.

Kudzu Root Sucker
In a survival situation, any kudzu root between 1/2 to 3/4 inches in diameter can be washed, cut at both ends to a length of about 6 inches, and then all the exterior bark should be scrapped off. The raw root can then be sucked on to gradually remove all its internal nutrients. Only suck the nutrients out of the root. The root is wood. Wood is NOT digestible. Do NOT eat the wood.

Kudzu Root Tea
The thin, tender young roots can be dug up, washed, diced, boiled, and strained to make a tea.


Nutritional Information
Fresh Kudzu Leaves
8 Ounces (net weight)

Category Amount
Calories 258 12 %
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.2 %
Dietary Fiber 10.3 g 45.7 %
Protein 2.1 g 4.8 %
Calcium 34.3 mg 3.4 %
Phosphorous 41.1 mg 4.3 %
Iron 1.4 mg 7 %


09-29-2009, 10:48 PM

Kudzu Recipes

You can eat Kudzu? Why sure! Find some vines off the beaten path and pick a mess!

To cook with Kudzu, choose only the smallest, most tender leaves. Large leaves are too tough. Even the small leaves have plenty of body. Fresh and tender, the leaves have a flavor similar to that of a green bean. That's because Kudzu is a member of the legume family.

Wanna read about Kudzu? Visit Kudzu: Friend, Foe or Food?

| Kudzu Blossom Jelly | Rolled Kudzu Leaves | Kudzu Quiche | Kudzu Tea | Deep Fried Kudzu Leaves |


Kudzu Blossom Jelly

Spoon over cream cheese, or melt and serve over waffles and ice cream. The blossom liquid is gray until lemon juice is added.

4 cups Kudzu blossoms
4 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (1 3/4-ounce) package powered pectin
5 cups sugar

Wash Kudzu blossoms with cold water, and place them in a large bowl. Pour 4 cups boiling water over blossoms, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Pour blossoms and liquid through a colander into a Dutch oven, discarding blossoms. Add lemon juice and pectin; bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Stir in sugar; return to a full rolling boil, and boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam with a spoon. Quickly pour jelly into hot, sterilized jars, filling to 1/4 inch from top. Wipe jar rims. Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands.

Process in boiling water bath 5 minutes. Cool on wire racks. YIELD: 6 half pints.


Rolled Kudzu Leaves

Kudzu Leaves
1 can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
Juice of 3 lemons
Bacon Grease (optional)

Stuffing ingredients: 1 cup rice, rinsed in water
1 pound ground lamb or lean beef
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Gather about 30 medium-sized young kudzu leaves. Make sure area has not been sprayed with chemicals to kill the Kudzu.

Wash leaves. Drop into salted boiling water. Boil a 2-3 minutes, separating leaves. Remove to a plate to cool. Remove heavy center stems from the leaves by using a knife and cutting down each side of the stem to about the middle of the leaf. Combine all stuffing ingredients and mix well.

Push cut sides together and fill with 1 teaspoon stuffing and roll in the shape of a cigar. Place something in bottom of a large pan so that rolled leaves will not sit directly on the bottom of the pan. Bacon grease is great for seasoning.

Arrange Kudzu rolls alternately in opposite directions. When all are in the pot, pour in a can diced tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 3 cloves of garlic, cut in half. Press down with an inverted dish and add water to reach dish. Cover pot and cook on medium for 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook 10 minutes more.


Kudzu Quiche

Makes 4-6 servings.

1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped, young, tender Kudzu leaves and stems
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 nine-inch unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream, eggs, kudzu, salt, pepper, and cheese. Place in pie shell. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until center is set.


Kudzu Tea

Kudzu leaves

Simmer 1 cup of finely chopped Kudzu leaves in a quart of water for 30 minutes. Drain and serve with honey and a sprig of mint. If you prefer a sweeter taste use honey to sweeten the tea.


Deep Fried Kudzu Leaves

Pick light green leaves, 2-inch size.

Thin batter made with iced water and flour

Heat oil. Rinse and dry kudzu leaves, then dip in batter (chilled). Fry oil quickly on both sides until brown. Drain on paper toweling. Eat while warm.

09-29-2009, 10:49 PM
I think CanadaSue should invite us all up for some stir-fried kudzo!

09-29-2009, 10:56 PM
Some of those recipes sound pretty good. Why are they spraying it away, then, down south? Send people out to pick the stuff for fresh greens for food banks and stuff. Geeze.