In a narrow strip of ground between a road and a tall wood fence in winter, small neon flags mark potential kudzu roots.

Each of the orange flags in the photo above is a kuzu root, about 4.5-6 inches across.  Each of those roots had put up a tangle of muscular, aggressive vines that were tearing up our wooden fence.  The kuzu vine is considered a highly invasive plant that can destroy areas of woodland and forest within a few years if unchecked.

Kudzu vines are being whacked down to the dirt. To control kudzu, the crew must attack the invasive plant above and below the ground as well.

As you can see from the number of flags, we have had a kuzu problem. The kuzu was pushing in between the wooden boards of our fence, year after year, we kept trimming it back.  This year we have taken a different tack.  We had our friend Francis and his crew whack the kuzu back to the ground, which was great.  But that would only be a respite of a few weeks from a plant that can grow twelve inches in a day.  What could keep this invasive monster at bay?



We decided to try an experiment.  The root of the Kuzu vine is very large, and at the end of fall, as it goes dormant, the plant packs it’s root with starches to kick start new growth the next spring.  Taking some notes from our long human history of brewing, starches and sugars can serve as a food for yeast to make beer.  Why not inject the roots with live apple cider vinegar?  Would the live yeast feed on the starches and sugars the plant produces as it comes out of its winter dormant period?


A hole is being drilled into dug-up rootball, as part of an eco-friendly, herbicide free way to control invasive kudzu.
The root is injected with vinegar by hand, in hopes that the vinegar will eat up starches stored there.


To the left you see Kelton inject a few ounces of live apple cider vinegar into a live kuzu root.  Will the yeast start eating the starches in the root?  Will the yeast start eating the sugars the root is producing as it ramps up it's spring growth?  If the yeast does infect the root, will it weaken or kill the plant?


I don’t know.


Stay tuned, we are going to find out.