Pat Shingleton: "Autumn HInts and Kudzu..."
I believe we are noticing a few hints of autumn. Our fig trees haven't displayed as much yield as last year at this time and my "jogs" through the neighborhood also noticed our streets, lined with oak trees, were loaded with acorns. Possibly the squirrel storage process has also been delayed. Last year I noticed a few woolly worms, none have been seen yet. In my younger years, butternut trees were ready for collection in mid-September. Mom sent us out with the assignment to collect the nuts with gloves, basket them and store them in the basement - they were excellent in Mom’s Christmas cookies. Why the gloves? The residue from the butternuts left a stain that was hard to remove. Gloves are also needed in weed pulling and weed pulling seems to be a year-round chore in South Louisiana. “The vine that ate the South” is the kudzu plant, native to Asia and introduced to the United States in the 19th Century. The vine was classified as a pest weed by the Department of Agriculture 50 years ago. In addition to being a nuisance, scientists determined it also aids in the formation of harmful low-level ozone. Researchers compared kudzu growth in Georgia to regions where it was absent noting that the kudzu sections held twice as much nitric oxide emissions. When nitric oxide interacts with sunlight, ozone or photochemical smog occurs. The National Academy of Science revealed that kudzu covers 7.9 million acres in the Southeast, spreading over more than 120,000 acres each year.
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