1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The proposed research is to aggressively deploy and integrate multiple management techniques and monitor the transition of the floral communities at the test sites. Preliminary data collected over two years at Eden and Mound Bayou, MS, has supported the hypothesis that late-season mowing and selective herbicides with good translocation and soil uptake can provide a high level of kudzu control. It is proposed that these approaches integrated and extended by subsequent spot-treatments of kudzu escapes/survivors with the bioherbicide M. verrucaria and introduce competing vegetation to suppress the kudzu while concomitantly providing erosion control and preventing the introduction of additional invasive species, such as cogongrass.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
We propose to evaluate an intense, rapid, integrated kudzu eradication program at 4 locations in Mississippi. Through application of herbicidal and suppressive approaches it may be possible to reduce the time needed to achieve eradication. Use of herbicides with high selectivity and a biological control agent will allow for simultaneous re-establishment of desirable vegetation, thus providing more long-lasting kudzu exclusion.
Management of invasive weed species is an ongoing challenge for land managers. Kudzu is among the 10 most common, aggressive and poorly controlled weeds in Mississippi and presently infests over 500,000 acres of private forestland within the state, resulting in annual loss of $54 million dollars in timber sales. While various control options have been documented over the years, there are new, effective, affordable approaches that need to be integrated into a rapid and efficient land management strategy. Research supporting the suppression of, and eventual eradication of, kudzu is proceeding at 3 existing and 1 new site in Mississippi. Excellent control has been observed from several herbicides and from an integrated approach with mowing, biological control and herbicide treatment. To improve the safety of biological control applications a new production system is being investigated.