Featured Weed: Japanese Stiltgrass

Japanese Stiltgrass, an exotic invasive grass species introduced into the U.S. in Tennessee in 1919, has invaded our landscapes with a vengeance recently.  Since this annual grassy weed is well adapted to low sunlight, it will invade disturbed shaded areas near woods.  Deer avoid foraging on this species in the woodlands, thus hastening its spreadA single plant is able to produce 100-1000 seeds, which are viable in the soil for 3 years.  Seeds can be carried by human and animal foot traffic, and they can be dispersed by runoff from rain.  Stiltgrass germinates in spring and continues to do so through the growing season until first frost when the plant dies.  The best control for such annual grassy weeds is the use of preemergent herbicide in spring.  Once it takes over, this grass is very easily removed by hand because it is shallow rooted.  If pervasive, a selected weed killer may be used (Bayer’s Advanced Crabgrass Control applied via hose sprayer is recommended).  Proper identification is important because other species look similar.  It has a characteristic pale stripe running vertically in the center of the leaf blade, and the plants form a 1-3 foot mat.