Kudzu

Native to Asia, Kudzu is a rapid-growing perennial vine that reaches 20–30m in length. It smothers native vegetation and is currently a major pest in Japan and America.

You must manage the impacts of Kudzu on your land.

You must not give away, sell or release Kudzu into the environment.

Scientific name

Pueraria montana var. lobata, Syn. P. lobata

Other names

  • Kudzu vine, kudsu, kudzoo, cudzu, Japanese arrowroot

Description

  • Perennial vine climbing up to 30m.
  • Flowers are purple-pink, fragrant, about 1–1.5cm long.
  • Roots are fleshy.
  • Taproot is massive, up to 1.8m long, 15cm in diameter, 180kg.
  • Leaves are compound with three broad leaflets each up to 10cm across.
  • Pods are brown, flat, hairy, 5cm long, containing 3–10 small, hard, oval seeds.
  • Most reproduction is vegetative as roots form where stems touch ground.

Habitat

  • Prefers full sun and generally intolerant of deep shade.

Distribution

  • Present in north Queensland and recently found in South East Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Deciduous in South East Queensland.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Out-competes and smothers native vegetation.

Economic

  • Damages buildings, overhead wires and other structures.
  • Out-competes and smothers tree crops.

How it is spread

  • Spread over long-distance by people moving live plants.
  • Transported and planted for stock fodder, as herb and as garden ornamental.
  • Seed pods spread by sticking to clothing or animal fur.

Control

Physical control

  • Hand-pull or dig the tubers to remove isolated small plants.
  • Tubers may remain viable for several years. It is important to dispose of them appropriately. Small quantities can be frozen or 'cooked' in a microwave to stop them re-shooting. For large quantities, compost on site in an isolated area where regrowth can easily be foliar sprayed; or double-bag in non-biodegradable plastic bags and dispose of in general waste for deep burial.
  • Do not dispose of vines or tubers in green waste as this will spread the weed.

Herbicide control

  • Herbicide control can be achieved using crowning, cut stump or basal bark techniques or foliar application.

See the kudzu fact sheet (PDF, 6.3MB) for herbicide control guidelines and application rates.

Legal requirements

  • Kudzu is a category 3 restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment. Penalties may apply.
  • You must take all reasonable and practical measures to minimise the biosecurity risks associated with dealing with kudzu under your control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on kudzu. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local council for more information.

Further information