Plant Features: Kudzu

Kudzu is a persistent vine that was introduced to the southeastern United States in the late 19th century. Originally from East Asia, it found an ideal climate in the Southeast to spread rapidly. If left unmanaged, Kudzu forms dense thickets that choke out all native plants in its path.

While deer have been observed eating its leaves, providing some nutritional benefit, Kudzu is ultimately damaging to the local ecosystem. As it crowds out native species that many other wildlife rely on as a food source, its invasion disrupts the natural balance.

We included it in our list of popular vines. However, be careful with this one.

Kudzu Control and Prevention Tips for Your Lawn

Kudzu can quickly take over gardens and lawns. Effective control and prevention require multiple approaches. Here are practical methods:

1. Mechanical Removal

Remove kudzu by hand-pulling and digging. Focus on the root crowns, which store energy for the plant. Use a shovel or pickaxe to dig around and sever them from the taproots. This method requires effort but is crucial for preventing regrowth.

2. Mowing and Grazing

Mow the kudzu weekly during the growing season. Set the lawnmower to the lowest setting. For larger areas, consider using goats. They feed on kudzu and help control its spread​​​​.

3. Smothering

Cover kudzu with heavy materials to block sunlight, water, and air. Use large plastic tarps secured with rocks or bricks. Overlap the tarps to ensure no sunlight gets through. This method takes months but effectively kills the plants by depriving them of resources​.

4. Chemical Treatments

Herbicides are effective against kudzu. Use products with glyphosate or triclopyr. Apply during the growing season, in late spring and late summer. Follow the product instructions to avoid damaging nearby vegetation. Use foliar sprays and cut-stump treatments​​​.

5. Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Combine mechanical, chemical, and biological methods for long-term control. Persistence is key. Regular monitoring and repeated treatments over several years will help eradicate kudzu from your property​​​.

Use These Plants for Decoration Instead of Kudzu


Jasmine is a great alternative for garden decoration. It offers fragrant white or yellow flowers that bloom beautifully. Jasmine vines are easy to manage and grow well on trellises and fences, providing a lush and pleasant appearance without becoming invasive.

Creeping Fig

Creeping fig is an excellent choice for covering walls and trellises. It has small, dark green leaves that create a dense, attractive look. Unlike kudzu, creeping fig grows slowly and is easy to control, making it suitable for decorative purposes in any garden.

Wild Grape Vine

Wild grape vines add a natural, rustic charm to gardens. They produce clusters of small grapes and have large, heart-shaped leaves. These vines are manageable with regular pruning and do not pose the same invasive risks as kudzu.

Last Words

Though lush and lovely to behold on a small scale, kudzu’s rapid dominance comes at great cost by displacing native flora and fauna across invaded regions.

Efforts to contain its sprawling spreads require a combination of techniques. Even so, full removal remains implausible where kudzu is firmly entrenched with its dense thickets.

Therefore, think twice before you decide to add it to existing plants in your garden.