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Kudzu invasion!

AP story in today's paper:

"INDIANAPOLIS - Kudzu, that notoriously fast-growing vine that covers vast
tracts of the South, has spread its green, choking blanket to at least 28
Indiana counties, posing a threat to woodlands and the state's soybean
"Purdue University recently began studying some of the more than 70 patches
of kudzu in the southern half of the state after stands of the invasive vine
in Florida were found to harbor a deadly fungus that preys on soybeans.
"Soybean rust has not yet been found in Indiana, but plant pathologists
believe it is only a matter of time before the fungus shows up in the state.
The fungus began devastating soybeans in South America three years ago and
reached US fields last fall, spreading as close to Indiana as Tennessee and
Missouri.  Kudzu's early leafing vines would provide an early target for the
fungus' wind-borne spores to infect before spreading to soybeans later in
the season, said Glenn Nice, a weed scientist with Purdue's extension
"Earlier this month, Nice and his colleagues visited three kudzu-infested
sites in southern Indiana as the vines were starting to bud.  Some had
diameters of 2 inches and were intertwined with smaller vines to form a
dense thicket.
"As part of his research, Nice is interested in whether Hoosier Kudzu is the
same as the vines found in the South and how Indiana's infestations got
started [does global warming come to anyone's mind? (Kitty)]  Purdue
staffers will monitor some of the state's kudzu stands for signs of the
soybean rust fungus throughout the season...."

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