Space invaders: Pesky plant gets the boot

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Holiday 36

What's big, green and grows five feet per night? No, it's not your nephew Lionel. Any gardener– or, for that matter, anyone who drives Virginia byways– knows it's kudzu.

Originally planted for decoration, forage, and to control erosion, this vine native to China and Japan, has grown at such a rapid rate that it's choking natural growth in many areas of the Southeast, and Charlottesville is no exception. So on Sunday, March 13, members of the Outdoor Adventure Social Club volunteered their afternoon to combat the wild vine and take back McIntire Park.

Susan Pleiss of Charlottesville Parks and Grounds met nine members of the Club at the park and outfitted them with the rakes, clippers, and gloves they needed to clear out the kudzu. After a brief description of what to look for, the group went to work, tackling a 50-foot section of the park with gusto. After three hours, the group had made a huge difference. (Go see for yourself. Check out the embankment in front of the 250 West onramp at McIntire Park.)

Was the day all work and no play? No way! The social clubbers tackled their task with a notably cheery attitude, laughing, joking, and praising one another for a job well done. For more information on kudzu removal or the Club, call 760-HIKE or visit outdoorsocial.com.


Good times: Getting sweaty and dirty is more fun with friends.


Say cheese!


This kudzu doesn't stand a chance against the members of the Outdoor Adventure Social Club.


Michelle Delany takes a break to flash a smile.


Susan Pleiss of the City's Parks and Grounds Division lays out her attack plan.


Teamwork gets the job done.


Organizer Brooke Plotnick hands out protective handwear.

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