Japanese stiltgrass is native to temperate and tropical Asia. It can be identified by its lime-green color and a line of silvery hairs down the middle of the 2-3" long blade. It was introduced near Knoxville, Tennessee around 1919, and its current range is from Mississippi to Florida and north to Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, NewYork, and Connecticut.
In the last couple of years at Ruth B. Swann Park in Charles County, Maryland, where the Sierra Club and the Maryland Native Plant Society have been sponsoring invasive plant removal events, we have seen Japanese stiltgrass move in with a vengeance, covering over half of the lower areas of the park with a green carpet from early spring to late fall. On the first two weekends in October of last year, thirteen volunteers ranging in age from 23 to 67 worked a total of 104 person/hours in a successful effort to stem the invasion. Together with the work done the previous year, we estimate that 90% of the park's stiltgrass has been killed before it had a chance to set seed.
Our control of Japanese stiltgrass may be a model for the mid-Atlantic region on how to do it right. In areas where the stiltgrass had formed a monoculture, we used a 2% solution of RoundUp applied with a back pack sprayer, staying 10 feet away from streams. Used this way, RoundUp does not migrate, and it biodegrades quickly. Where the stiltgrass plants were mixed with native plants (about 5% of the population), volunteers hand-pulled the stiltgrass. Thus, volunteers were critical to the success of this invasive plant removal project. As more government money becomes available for invasive species control, it becomes tempting to depend on indiscriminant herbicide application by a few trained professionals. At Huntley Meadows Park in Virginia, $12,000 was spent recently on controlling Japanese stiltgrass with herbicide applications. Volunteers at Swann Park made it possible to control an aggressive invader at a cost of $200, while sparing closely-growing native plants.
A goal for the year 2000: Let's control Japanese stiltgrass in Maryland! q
Contact: Marc Imlay
|SPECIES||VOLUNTEERS/PERSON HRS.||ACTION DATE||% REMOVED/METHOD|
|English Ivy||19/88||12 July 98||100% pull/wet|
|Mile-a-minute||3/6||August 98||100% pull|
|Vinca minor||31/172||26 Sept 98||99% pull & bag|
|Ponceras trifoliata||1/1||August 98||100% hack & squirt|
|Beefsteak plant||12/55||Oct 98/99||90% pull & bag|
|Chinese day lily||2/5||Oct 98||99% dig/quarantine|
|Garlic mustard||12/48||2 May 99||50% (2nd year only)/bag|
|Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven)||12/16
7 Oct 99
|20 % pull
30% hack & squirt
|Wineberry||11/44||5 Sep 99||80% pull/wet (spading fork)|
|Multiflorra rose||11/22||July-Oct 99||10% pull/spading fork|
|Chinese privet||5/5||Sept 99||5% pull/spading fork/h&s|
|Lespedeza cuneata||5/5||5 Sept 99||5% pull/wet/spading fork|
|Japanese barberry||3/2||Oct 99||5% pull/spading fork|