Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Monday: 26 July 2004

eradicating the microstegium  -  @ 09:17:08
It's just about time to break out the roundup and go after this year's crop of Microstegium vimineum, aka Nepalese browntop, Japanese stiltgrass, Chinese packing grass. We didn't know what the hell it was ten years ago when it started making inroads, and then kind of ignored it for a few years. Finally last year it became clear it was not only NOT going away, it was going to spread and choke out everything. So I experimented with roundup. Fortunately the monster succombs to a fairly low dose (<0.5%) glyphosate, and doesn't flower until late August after most good things have already done so and begun to go dormant. Unfortunately the seeds survive in the soil for five years, so yes, it's still there albeit at much reduced density in many places.

Ultimately it took 150 gallons of roundup to cover what I guess was about 3 acres of the stuff scattered here and there. This is what the plant looks like in mass, with the foreground showing the line of demarcation where the spraying stopped and the background showing the lush monocultural stand of the plant. Beautiful, isn't it. But nothing else will grow there.

A little further back, the top of a knoll after last year's treatment. This is a healthy stand of woods brome that was in flower this spring. The area looked like the background in the previous photo last year before treatment.

It's true that the trees in the above pic are primarily chinaberry trees, a non-native and they have since been cut down.

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