A Kudzu vine

Letters to the editor reflect the opinion of the writer(s), not the Rapp News. Comment below or by writing a letter to the editor: editor@rappnews.com. 

Those of us who fight the battles against non-native invasive plants in Rappahannock have had at least one semi-bright spot in our outlook. The scourge of Kudzu along our roadsides and in our forests has been relatively muted in the county. Sadly that hopeful time is over. In the past two years, Kudzu has quickly expanded here. We've found it in the County Park. We've found it along U.S. Route 522, state route 231 and Crest Hill Road. And I'm sure it is spreading elsewhere in the county.

As far as I know, there is only one absolute truth in invasive plant management: a small, pioneering infestation is easier to control than a large, established one. So if you notice Kudzu starting to grow someplace, please try to do something. If you put it off even for one growing season, we'll soon find Kudzu choking out our productive native plants, ruining our wildlife habitat, and destroying the beautiful vistas we all cherish. We have too many invasive plants that are already well-established here. But if we work together, we might be able to slow down the impact of Kudzu in our county.

Kudzu is very difficult to control, but the vine is relatively easy to identify (see the photo).  Once it's established, it forms a dense mat that covers everything in its ever-expanding reach. We need to notice it when it's small. So be on the lookout.

If you need more information, you can contact the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (rlep.org), the Blue Ridge Partnership for Invasive Species Management (blueridgeprism.org), or the county extension office.

Mike Wenger

Flint Hill

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