Ask The Biologist

Kudzu Love

Kudzu Love

By Bob Humphrey

The negatives usually outweigh the positives with this invasive plant.

QUESTION: My lease in southern Alabama is being overrun with Kudzu vine growth. I have seen deer pull and eat at this vine. Does this plant offer any nutritional value such as proteins, or is it really just like feeding them shelled corn?

ANSWER: Kudzu is an oriental invasive species in the pea family. Much like soybeans, its leaves and seeds are very high in protein. Its dense foliage also provides good cover.

However, as I’m sure you’re aware, kudzu is also a very aggressive plant. It grows rapidly, out-competing native plants and in some cases choking smaller trees.

Although it’s a good food source, even the densest deer populations won’t be able to keep up with and limit plant growth. Keeping a little around isn’t a bad thing but if it starts taking over an area, you might have to apply mechanical or chemical control measures.

— Recent Ask the Biologist Question:

Recommended Deerly Allowance: While you can’t really provide too much nutrition, overkill is wasteful.
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