Saturday, Jan. 17


Illinois outlaws kudzu and
six species of buckthorn    
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[JAN. 17, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Kudzu and six varieties of buckthorn, all exotic species that can take over the landscape and choke out native plants, are now illegal in Illinois.

A law passed last year "makes it illegal to buy, sell or plant these plants in Illinois,” said Gov. Rod Blagojevich. “These exotic weeds have the ability to strangle out all other plant life around them. This new law is an important step in preventing irreversible damage to the native plants of this state.”

The new law adds kudzu and six non-native species of buckthorn -- common buckthorn, glossy buckthorn, saw-toothed buckthorn, dahurian buckthorn, Japanese buckthorn and Chinese buckthorn -- to the list of Illinois exotic weeds, making it illegal to buy, sell or plant these species in Illinois.

These species join Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) on the exotic weed list.

“These additions to the exotic weed list are very significant. Buckthorn has created extensive damage to thousands of acres in northern Illinois, and anyone who has traveled to the southern United States has seen the overwhelming impact of kudzu,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold.

The Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Transportation, along with the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, all have been working together to eradicate kudzu in Illinois before the federally listed noxious weed becomes a major economic and wildlife habitat pest. The group has been working to eliminate the plant on state and federal lands and has been cooperating with landowners to kill off known kudzu populations on private lands in the state.


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Biologists have been making great strides in controlling kudzu, which was beginning to show up in several locations around the state, including state parks such as Giant City in southern Illinois and as far north as Cook County. They believe they have chemically treated 85 percent of the kudzu that exists in Illinois to eliminate it. The new law will help prevent kudzu from making an unwelcome return.

Non-native species of buckthorn can be found throughout Illinois but have been a particular problem in the northern two-thirds of the state. The plants act as a host for the soybean aphid and thus have the potential to have a negative impact on Illinois' agricultural economy.

The legislation (HB666) was sponsored in the House by Reps. Brandon W. Phelps, D-Norris City; Dan Reitz, D-Steeleville; Karen May, D-Highland Park; JoAnn D. Osmond, R-Antioch; and Ed Sullivan Jr., R-Mundelein.; and in the Senate by Larry D. Woolard, D-Carterville; Todd Sieben, R-Geneseo; Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest; and Dale E. Risinger, R-Peoria.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources
news release]

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