By: Joyce Bender
for Carter County Times
Have you seen this plant climbing on your trees and shrubbery, bullying its way across the unmown portion of your property? It is called mile-a-minute weed and it was recently reported from the Oakland Ridge area of Carter County near Tygart State Forest. This is the first known record of this very invasive plant in Kentucky. This prickly vine has wedge or arrow-shaped leaves, sky blueberries in clusters and is an unwanted pest in seventeen states. Although the leaves and vines are smaller than kudzu, it grows over everything in its path in the same way. It interferes with forest health by preventing development of sapling trees and native wildflowers that support wildlife.
The landowners’ curiosity prompted them to post pictures on Facebook in late September, which led to immediate responses on the vine’s identity and offers to remove it from their property. On October 7th, representatives from the KY Invasive Plant Council (KY IPC), University of KY and Office of KY Nature Preserves pulled vines and gathered fallen berries into bags. The landowners burned the plants and berries on site. Next year, the volunteers will return and follow up with herbicide for vines that germinate from any seeds that were missed. Joyce Bender, Vice President of the KY IPC said, “We don’t want to see this invasive plant become established in Kentucky, so early detection is critical to our efforts. We thank the landowners for their willingness to remove this vine before it could do more harm.”
The Kentucky Invasive Plant Council promotes public awareness of the damage that invasive plants are causing to our natural areas and native species. KY IPC would like to hear from you if you have this plant growing on your land or have seen it along a roadside. Please contact them at email@example.com or post on the KY IPC Facebook page.