Kudzu vines typically grow in parts of the southern United States, most notably the southeastern region of the country. According to the Kudzu Eradication Guidelines from Clemson University, the plants first arrived in the United States in 1876 when settlers used the vine for ornamental and decorative purposes. Herbicides and mowing are effective means of killing kudzu, but Clorox bleach may also work.
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Clorox Bleach Usage
Pour Clorox into a plastic spray bottle and use the full-strength bleach as a weed killer. Spray the bleach on the tops of the kudzu vines and along the base of the vines. The bleach works by slowly suffocating the vines and preventing the kudzu from absorbing the needed water and nutrients from the surrounding soil. The bleach naturally dissolves after a few days. Check the kudzu and look for any signs of regrowth. Spray the vines with more bleach and repeat the spraying process every few days. Keep in mind that depending on the amount of kudzu growth, bleach alone may not be effective in killing the vine.
Removing Kudzu Vines
Before applying any type of bleach mixture, cut back or burn the vines. Clemson's Kudzu Eradication Guidelines recommend burning the patches of kudzu during the spring season when the vines first start growing. The controlled burn removes the smaller plants and kills the fresh offspring of the vine. If you opt for cutting, then cut back the kudzu until it is only a few inches off the ground. Cut through the higher levels and throw away the remaining kudzu vines before treating the plant.
The Kudzu Eradication Guidelines from Clemson University recommend using an herbicide like Tordon 101 Mixture or Tordon K, rather than a home remedy like Clorox bleach. Use up to 2 gallons of herbicide, depending on the age and depth of the kudzu. For kudzu that is nine years old or more, the site suggests using 2 gallons. Repeat the treatment the following year for any returning kudzu. If you have a severe problem with the vines, then it may take several years before you completely eradicate the kudzu.
Avoid spraying Clorox bleach, herbicide or any type of chemical around areas with a high level of vegetation, including crops, flowers and trees. The chemicals seep into the plants and may eradicate those plants. Do not use Clorox on kudzu growing near ponds, lakes or streams. The bleach can seep from the kudzu and contaminate the water supply.