Kudzu: Where The Wild Things Are

Kudzu Covered Hill

Snakes. Hidden gullies. Washing machines. Animals, dead and alive. These are some of the things Extension plant pathologists encounter while scouting for soybean rust in the South.

Go ahead, admit it, you just thought someone walks into a soybean field and collects a few leaves for confirmation. In the South, it can be a walk on the wild side any time of year.

Why? One word: kudzu.

Kudzu, for the uninitiated, is a vine plant that quickly spreads over, under, and through anything that sits awhile. Brought into this country for erosion control, it’s another favorite host for soybean rust besides soybeans and is found primarily in the South. Much of it dies back in the winter, but pockets of protected kudzu, if infected with rust, can threaten the next soybean crop.

The ‘Fun’ Is In The Finding

Kudzu can grow up to 6 feet tall. Tom Allen of Mississippi State Uni­versity says he and his scouting team have found themselves shoulder-deep in kudzu patches. “You can look out across the area we’re in and not see anything but heads on a regular basis,” he says.

Snakes are one of the most common things underfoot. Ed Sikora of Auburn University came across a 2- to 3-foot water moccasin while checking a kudzu patch with a grower’s wife. Because it was near where her children play, he beheaded the snake. “I was holding him without his head and she was taking the picture — and the thing was still wrapping around my wrist,” he recalls.

Rabbits and other small animals run under the dense cover of kudzu. Clayton Hollier of Louisiana State Uni­versity recalls when an animal — possibly just a dog or something as dangerous as a small black bear on all fours — was running alongside the state’s primary rust scout, Patricia Bollich, but finally moved into another direction. “You never know what the animal really is until it gets to you or you get to it,” he adds.

Bob Kemerait of the University of Geor­gia says his scouts have even stepped into raging nests of hornets, yet “every one of us has been bitten by the hunt for soybean rust on kudzu.”

Not everything found in kudzu is alive, especially in urban settings. As Tom Isakeit of Texas A&M University puts it, “where kudzu grows, that’s where people tend to throw their trash.” While Sikora has discovered graffiti on kudzu-covered buildings, Isakeit gets kidded about finding not just rust, but also pornographic materials, in kudzu under bridges.

OK, Drop ’Em!

As kudzu layers accumulate, gullies, and other uneven patches are easily hidden. “A lot of times when we go into these wood patches, there are gullies that this stuff covers to make it look like just a flat bed of kudzu,” says Scott Monfort of the University of Arkansas. “Then you step in it and you may fall 2 feet. You take a stick with you to kind of poke and prod to make sure you don’t lose your footing.”

Billy Moore, plant pathologist emeritus from Mississip­pi State, noticed the ground felt uneven in one kudzu patch. Upon closer inspection, he discovered he’d been walking on top of a junkyard full of cars.

Leave a Reply

Fungicides Stories

FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot Reported In Indiana Soybeans
September 3, 2014
Farmers and retailers should be watching for symptoms of these two diseases over the next few weeks as they are best managed through preventative methods. Read More
FungicidesResearchers Target Soybean Disease With Genetic Resistance Study
August 6, 2014
University of Illinois researchers will share new information on controlling sudden death syndrome through genetic resistance at this year's Agronomy Day. Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybeans
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
FungicidesNew Players May Make Pest Headlines In Corn, Soybean
April 1, 2014
The usual insects and diseases took a bit of a break in 2013, but other culprits surfaced — and could return. Read More

Trending Articles

FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More

Latest News

Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesValent To Discontinue Gangster Herbicide
September 22, 2014
Valent will discontinue Gangster Herbicide after the 2015 growing season as growers can now deploy Fierce XLT herbicide in soybeans. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
BlendersYargus Appoints New Plant Manager
September 18, 2014
Steve Shaffer will direct and coordinate daily operations at the company’s Marshall, IL, manufacturing plant, where the Layco line of material handling equipment is produced. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More