By: Dr. Nancy J. Loewenstein
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University
Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), sometimes called Japan grass, continues its rapid spread across Alabama and the Southeast, reducing forest productivity, destroying wildlife habitat and impacting rights-of ways. One way this aggressive weed is spreading so quickly is by hitchhiking around the state, catching rides on skidders, road graders, mowers, food plot equipment and other forest and road maintenance equipment.
|Step 1: Learn to identify cogongrass,|
Step 2: Avoid cogongrass when possible,
Step 3: Clean vehicles, equipment and clothing after operating incontaminated areas.
Photo credit: W. Faircloth, USDA, ARS
|Photo credits: C. Evans / www.invasive.org, J. Byrd, MSU / www.invasive.org, J. Miller, USDA FS / www.invasive.org, C. Bryson, USDA ARS / www.invasive.org|
Areas to clean and check:
- radiator, grill, undercarriage and tops of vehicles
- blades, and under the deck of bushhogs, mowers, etc.
- tires, rims and tracks
- places where seeds and rhizomes can stick to grease and mud (seals, bearings, etc.)
- clothing (especially wrinkles, cuffs and hats)
Photo credit: W. Faircloth, USDA ARS
If water is available, a pressure washer is the best tool for the job. If water is not available, use a broom and a shovel to dislodge as much seed and rhizome material as possible. When in the field, follow best management practices:
- do not wash off parts of the machine that have oil buildup
- do not use chemical detergents
- do not wash in a location where water runoff will reach a stream
- clean in an open site that can be monitored and any new cogongrass plants eradicated
Also schedule a thorough cleaning at a garage or other facility as often as possible.
For more information about cogongrass and its control visit http://www.cogongrass.org
Or, contact your county Extension office. Visit http://www.aces.edu/counties
or look in your telephone directory under your county's name
to find contact information.