The next time you see some massive green vine overtaking a grove of trees, don't assume it's kudzu.
Yes, kudzu (Pueraria montana) is found in Big Canoe. When thinking of this invasive vine, one envisions roadside structures and trees draped in green that slowly disappear from sight. As a matter of fact, you can’t go very far in the South without seeing it. It is a plant that originated in Southeast Asia and was introduced to the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 with the intent of using it for erosion control. Well, it works. Too well, in fact. Since its introduction, kudzu has left its original areas and has become a noxious and invasive weed in areas along roadsides, rights-of-way and wood lines.
Not every vine in our mountain community that is seen draped over trees and shrubs has ill intent. The landscape department receives many phone calls every summer from homeowners stating they have kudzu on their property. Sometimes they do, but the majority of times they have mistaken other plants for our nemesis.
The most common pseudo-kudzu is grapevine. There are two different species of grape that share the same growing habits and overall similar looks: standard muscadine and big-leaf muscadine. Both are native, dark-green, grape-bearing vines that offer wildlife and passersby a sweet treat during the summer.
Coloration differentiates the grapevine from kudzu; muscadine is a glossy dark-green while kudzu is a lighter green. The shape of the leaves also varies with muscadine having irregular, coarse, zig-zagging leaf edges and kudzu bearing smooth leaves. Finally, muscadine bears grapes.
If you have kudzu in your yard or notice it while traveling through Big Canoe, please call the Grounds and Landscape Department, 706-268-3319 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will take care of it.