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January 30, 2021 3 min read
Do deer eat kudzu? If you are considering keeping deer out of your gardens, kudzu might come to mind.
Kudzu refers to perennial vines native to the Asian continent. It originally introduced from Japan to the U.S in the 1930’ to stop the dust bowl soil erosion. At the time, it was promoted for ages as a way to prevent soil erosion and help enhance the soil.
However, the Kudzu plant has also been used for basketry and fiber art in many societies and has many uses in Asian herbal medicines and culinary recipes. In Southern United States, it is an ingredient for creating compost, lotions and soaps.
Kudzu also has potentials as a forage crop and is often used to feed grazing animals. Since, we can feed goats and cows with it, you may ask the question – do deer eat kudzu?
Deer eat kuzdu and even sleep in it. Kudzu comes from the same family as soybeans and is very high in protein. They also grow quickly and can provide sufficient bedding cover for deer. This is one reason it was promoted in the past as a forage crop, especially by hunters. Deer will feed on it during the summer and early fall. However, the Kudzu will die off as soon as the first hard frost hits and regrow after winter. Nevertheless, the rate at which it grows is no match for deer feeding habits.
Kudzu is as invasive as Japanese honeysuckle. So no matter how much deer eats from them, they will eventually take over everywhere. They can squeeze out other plants including young trees, the vicinity covering for miles across woods and fields. Kudzu can also infest abandoned properties and bring down power lines. Due to their ability to climb and choke everything else, they are no longer recommended. They also require very deliberate methods such as grazing, diking, applying herbicides and digging to get rid off. Burning only kills off the young plant. In 2014, statistics states the invasive plant, costs U.S property owners over $50 million yearly to get rid of them
Even so, Kudzu is a host for soybean rust, so whatever it doesn’t choke out may die from the disease. Therefore, most states also have laws prohibiting kudzu propagation.
Do deer eat kudzu? Yes they do, but can never outrun the growth of the plant. That seems like a miracle if it were some other plant, especially as you won’t have to worry about deer damage ruining your harvest. However, kudzu is a lot worse, as it climbs everything in its path, choking down trees and even power lines. Getting rid of it is also awfully expensive and the only successful method is by killing or removing the kudzu root crown and all its runners within the ground. That requires a lot of money and effort. So we do not recommend that you cultivate this plant.
Overall, Kudzu’s highly aggressive nature of out competing other species leads to significant damage that outweighs its usefulness.
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