Skunk Vine – Identification and Control
Q: I believe this insidious vine came in on pine straw one year because I saw dead-looking vines in the straw. I cannot stay ahead of it. It must be a cousin of kudzu because it is now everywhere. It literally chokes weaker plants and steals water from them all. It smells like Kimchi, a skunk, or dirty gym shoes, when touched. It grows about a foot every two days and takes root as it travels. This is the second season. It does die back in the winter (loses leaves at least) but in the spring it continues it’s trek across the land.
A: I think you have skunk vine, otherwise known as “human gas” vine in the Orient.
This rampant invader has been known for several years in Florida but you are the first person to mention it to me in Georgia.
It is indeed insidious, stinky, and obtrusive.
Scientists recently discovered a beetle that eats skunk vine but it will be years before it becomes an ally to homeowners.
For right now, the best you can do is wage war on any part of the plant you see. Pull the vine while wearing disposable gloves. Spray leaves that you don’t care to pull with a non-selective herbicide like glyphosate (click for source) or these organic herbicide alternatives.
I recommend you not attend social events immediately after working with this pest.