Invasive, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is defined as “tending to spread especially in a quick or aggressive manner.”
A weed is “a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth,” according to Merriam-Webster.
South Mississippi is under attack from one of the top 10 most invasive weeds in the world. It can be spread vegetatively or by the wind. It is not suitable as forage for livestock or for erosion control.
Imperata cylindrica, more commonly known as cogongrass or Japanese blood grass, chokes out native species for control of soil nutrients. Its roots excrete chemicals that deter growth of competing vegetation.
“Cogongrass negatively affects pine productivity and survival, wildlife habitat, recreation, native plants, fire behavior and site management costs,” said Russell Bozeman, Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) state forester. “Its ability to rapidly spread and displace desirable vegetation makes it particularly dangerous to native ecosystems.”
The MFC uses herbicides, imazapyr and glyphosate, to help control the spread of cogongrass. While herbicide treatment can be costly, the MFC offers assistance to landowners to help offset some of the application costs.
The MFC is currently taking applications for the Cogongrass Control Program from landowners in George, Greene, Jackson and Perry counties. Limited funding is available, so applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Cogongrass is a highly invasive weed that the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) is actively working to eradicate,” Bozeman said. “We are constantly working with our landowners to help identify and eliminate this devastating plant.”
For more information or to apply for assistance through the MFC’s Cogongrass Control Program, visit http://www.mfc.ms.gov/cogongrass-control-program.
For landowners outside of George, Greene, Jackson and Perry counties, assistance in controlling cogongrass is available through the MFC’s Forest Resource Development Program (FRDP). As with the Cogongrass Control Program, there is limited funding available through the FRDP and applications are processed on a first come basis.
For more information about the FRDP, visit http://www.mfc.ms.gov/FRDP.
Cogongrass continues its spread across Mississippi, despite federal and state transportation regulations. It continues to threaten forests, rangelands, natural areas, roadsides and residential areas.
Mississippi State University Extension Service
Mississippi Department of Transportation