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June 2002

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Weed-whacking Sheep

Since arriving in the United States from Asia in 1876, kudzu—a highly invasive weed that can grow a foot a day—has smothered native plants across millions of acres in the Southeast and is spreading north. Alarmed at the futility of mowing it and the risk of poisoning groundwater with herbicides, the city parks superintendent in Tallahassee, Florida, has called in a secret weapon: sheep. So far, the weeds have no defense against the flock of five hundred, which munch about an acre a day from five hundred acres (two hundred hectares) of parkland.


Adams, Alison. “Crazy over Kudzu,” Emory Magazine (Winter 1998). Available online at www.emory.edu/EMORY_MAGAZINE/winter98/kudzu.html

“Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) fact sheet.” Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group. Available online at www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/pulo1.htm

“Scourge of the South May Be Heading North,” Geographica, National Geographic (July 1990).

Stewart, Doug. “Kudzu: Love it—Or Run.” Smithsonian Magazine (October 2000).

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