Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: ORNL research seeks to control kudzu

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 23, 2005 — (November 2005 story tip) Controlling kudzu to keep it from displacing and destroying natural vegetation on the Oak Ridge Reservation is a task being supervised by Oak Ridge National Laboratory environmental analyst Harry Quarles.

While kudzu was promoted in the Southeastern United States to hold soil from eroding on slopes, the non-North American plant species from Asia has overtopped other vegetation - including plants, grasses and trees - because it does not respond well to North American natural enemies and climactic controls in the ecosystem.

After eradicating patches of kudzu with mostly herbicides, the existing seed bank beneath is released and more desirable plants cover the site. Quarles has found this alternative resulting vegetation is just as effective in holding the soil while not creating the natural damage to other species that is caused by kudzu.