Archived Opinion

We’ve got to control kudzu

We’ve got to control kudzu

To the Editor:

Whether we like it or not, tourism sustains a quality of life for all WNC residents. This tourism naturally comes from living in area with a bounty of visual beauty that people come to see and experience.

Fall is just one great example of this visual beauty and is also one example of the economic lifeblood that tourism provides for WNC residents as people visit and spend money to see the fall leaves change. 

This make me wonder what happens when our beautiful fall colors provided by the hardwood trees are increasingly overtaken and killed off by kudzu? Fall is the perfect time to see our region’s future given the exponential growth of kudzu. And what that future looks like is vast expanses of gray dying kudzu leaves which is not a pretty sight visually and hence not a pretty sight for the future our tourism-based economy.

However, when I mention kudzu to people who live here and people who represent us I often get a shrug of the shoulders as if it doesn’t matter or that a solution is not possible. Or, even worse from our elected officials, a lack of understanding of how important what an area looks like and its crucial connection to tourist wanting to visit an area.

I would like to think that as kudzu continues to spread exponentially with no action and overtakes views on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Smoky Mountains and Clingmans Dome and other major tourist sights that people will take action. If this is true, then why are we waiting?

Where are the elected representatives discussing and teaming up with conservation groups, universities, residents and the government to come up with solutions? I don’t see that happening and I refuse to believe that there are no answers from a country that could engineer a successful Coronavirus vaccine in under a year but can’t invent a kudzu herbicide or some other solution for the visual blight of kudzu? In closing, I don’t think there will be many people in the future coming to see kudzu leaves change to gray in WNC or drive the future renamed “Kudzu Parkway,” and that spells trouble for the residents of WNC.

Tim Holloran 

Sylva

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4 comments

  • Good piece Tim and something we all should consider. It's a vastly larger problem than can be handled by just a few of us pulling it up by hand. I detest herbicides as much as anyone but the stull is most difficult to get rid of. What is a viable solution to push it back?

    posted by sam hopkins

    Friday, 11/11/2022

  • Well said, Tim. It is sad to see the continued spread of kudzu and that there is not a concern shown by local officials. When I talk to people I know to spread some awareness, I get a blank look and no response. I've done my part to eradicate it around my area. It took me a couple of years to kill it and I monitor constantly to prevent further growth. If I see a very small growth when I'm driving around, I'll stop and pull it up. But the fact that some home owners allow a wall of it to grow right up to their house gives you a sense of how unimportant it is to others. Sad that a beautiful scenic area of the country is becoming ugly and blighted.

    posted by TomKay

    Thursday, 11/10/2022

  • On my priority list...kudzu ranks just ahead of how long my shoestrings are.

    posted by Joe Schwartz

    Thursday, 11/10/2022

  • Kudzu is less offensive than out of state license plates or 17 rusted out vehicles. There are many local groups who deal with removal of evasive species. Please no more herbicides as Duke Power already sprays more than a Tomcat. The tourist dollar only benefits a select few. Tim, a good pair of gloves and a strong back might be a better solution then waiting for government intervention. Be the change you want, don't wait for others to solve your issue.

    posted by Aldo Raine

    Wednesday, 11/09/2022

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