Invasive plant species found in Columbiana County

FREDERICKTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — An invasive plant species that’s usually found in warmer climates has been reported in Columbiana County.

It’s called Kudzu and it’s usually found in warmer climates. It grows fast and smothers everything in its path, including trees, buildings and utility poles.

“We’re seeing it in a lot of other places and it’s able to survive over winter, so it’s worrisome. It’s a plant that can really take over and crowd out a lot of our native species,” said OSU Extenstion educator Eric Barrett.

So far in the Valley, it’s only been reported in Fredericktown, but it could spread quickly, especially in areas along the river. Barrett said if this vine spreads, it could threaten forests and the lumber industry.

“It can crowd out native species. It might get into farm fields where we have to do different control options to grow crops. It could destroy some of our timber industry by crowding out trees or new plantings of trees, or forest land that we’re trying to manage for lumber. So you talk about not having the right hardwood trees in our area to harvest for lumber, that could become a big challenge and things like maple syrup production, that we’re not able to grow new trees,” Barrett said.

Officials ask that if anyone sees Kudzu to report it, which can be done by downloading a Smartphone app called the Great Lakes Early Detection Network.

“You can report all kinds of invasive plants that you find on your farm property, on your home property, and you can put it in, put your details and they want to see a picture,” Barrett said.

Barrett said knowledge is key to prevention, so he said folks should know what they’re looking for so that invasive species like Kudzu can be identified correctly.

“You do need to know what you’re looking for, know what the plant looks like specifically, to be sure we are identifying it correctly because it spreads in a lot of different ways. Somebody might think it’s a cool plant and put it in their yard. Otherwise, birds and things like that can spread it through the area,” Barrett said.

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