Saturday, September 17, 2005

Kudzu picking permit

If you live near or south of the Mason Dixon line, you are likely to be familiar with kudzu. You know, it's that stuff that, when you're driving down the highway, sort of looks like a big green blob, covering fields, trees, houses--anything in it's path! Kudzu is a good idea gone bad. It was brought into this country in the 1800's, and was promoted as a fast growing, low maintainance, privacy fence. Growing more than 18 inces a day in the summertime heat, it lived up to expectations. By the 1920's, farmers were trying to grow it as livestock feed. Someone else decided to grow it for erosion control. Lumber companies even tried to grow it as a cover crop! In short, kudzu was planted from Pennsylvania to Texas, and is covering everything in its path. Many states now consider kudzu an invasive species --others, a noxious weed, and have forbidden planting it under most circumstances. Recently, I tried picking kudzu in Hot Springs National Park. I was stopped by a ranger who asked me what I was doing. After explaining that am a weaver, baskets, blah, blah, I was told that I need to apply for a permit to pick kudzu in the park...that a certain percentage of my profits from weaving would be given to the park...WHAT??? for a noxious weed? I guess I'll let that little patch of kudzu be their problem...someday it may eat the whole park!

4 Comments:

Blogger delphcb said...

I always wondered what those vines were actually called. Thank you for putting a name to those things for me.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 8:34:00 AM  
Blogger knowitallman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 6:06:00 PM  
Blogger james said...

hi,
iam entering the philadelphia flower show and want to make my container out of vines .. i was wondering if you could advise me on willow or grapevine... should i boil these also

Friday, February 11, 2011 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

No! Don't boil them.
If you are picking grapevine this time of year, and using them fresh, they probably don't even need soaking. What you should consider is shrinkage, because the vines will lose the sap they contain. You could weave extra tight, to allow for drying, or let it dry and weave a little more in later.
The willow may bloom out into pussy willow type things...it might be a nice effect. Again, willow shrinks when it dries.

It's best to dry willow before using it, and then hydrate it enough to make it pliable with hot wet towels or a short soaking. I never actually did this, I always wove fresh willow, let it dry, and weaved more in later.
Coax the willow around your thumb, back and forth, before making tight bends with it.

Your basket will be beautiful no matter what. They always are!

Friday, February 11, 2011 12:38:00 PM  

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