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Plant identification, please

 
Nicole Castle
Posts: 151
Location: Madison, AL
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Can anyone ID this grass-like plant? It's growing somewhere that I really can't get anything else to grow. If I understand this "weed" better I may understand the problem site better.

Colony:


Whole plant:


Closeups:


 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Possibly Variable Panicgrass......?

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=DICO2
 
Nicole Castle
Posts: 151
Location: Madison, AL
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Maybe... it's native and the right habitat (part shade, temperate hardwood wet hammock), but I've sure never seen it bloom or go to seed in 3 years like the pictures show. The USDA says it should be secondary blooming now, and there are little tufts in the leaf axils now. And the Alabama Plant Atlas says Dichanthelium commutatum ssp. commutatum is present in my county although all the specimen pictures look like that have longer leaves than mine.

I'd say that's a pretty good candidate but I'd feel more certain if I'd ever seen seed heads. If so, at least it's not some kind of invasive.

Might be Dichanthelium clandestinum instead. Anyway, this gives me a good avenue of investigation, thanks!
 
Nicole Castle
Posts: 151
Location: Madison, AL
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It turns out that it's Japanese Stilt Grass, Microstegium vimineum, a noxious invasive.

And I have a huge area of it. *sigh*
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Well shoot. Can you cut it for compost?

 
Nicole Castle
Posts: 151
Location: Madison, AL
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It apparently can root at every axil, so I'm not sure that's a good idea. On the plus side, it's an annual... on the con side, it produces up to 1000 seeds per plant and the seeds last 5 years in the soil.

So whatever I do, it's bound to be a long term project. Since this area has a lot of erosion problems and it next to a wet weather creek, I'm going to have to proceed cautiously.
 
duane hennon
gardener
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hi Nicole

http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/mivi1.htm

Mechanical
Stiltgrass can be mowed in late summer (i.e., August through September) when the plants are flowering but preferably before seed is produced. This can be done using a lawn mower or "Weed Whacker" type machine or a scythe. Because stiltgrass is primarily an annual plant, cutting late in the season before the plants would die back naturally avoids the possibility of regrowth. Recent information suggests that stiltgrass plants that are cut early in the summer respond by regrowing and flowering soon after cutting, much earlier than they would normally flower. This is another reason to consider cutting in late summer to fall rather than during the early summer months.

maybe if you cut it before it goes to seed and let it lay
then plant a winter crop like rye there which will grow when tree leaves fall
the rye would grow over the winter, helping to stabilize things
and in the spring the rye might crowd out the stiltgrass before the trees shade out the rye...
I don't know if it would work but I don't see that it would hurt and wouldn't take much effort
that's my thoughts anyway
good luck

 
Nicole Castle
Posts: 151
Location: Madison, AL
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Duane,

Thanks for the suggestions. I do mow as much as I can -- maybe that's been slowing the spread in one direction, but there's a lot I can't reach since it's in a deep gully. My concerns are that I have not been able to get anything to grow in this area at all. Not dandelions or clover or bermuda grass -- nothing. Maybe this stilt grass is allelopathic? The winter is our rainy season and it stays soggy down there for days after every rain as the water percolates down the mountain.

Rye grass was on my list of things to try since supposedly it can take a lot of water. I won't be able to really seed the gully but it might be a start.

I was actually think of doing trial plots for this area -- strips 5' wide -- this winter, but I haven't gotten around to deciding which seed other than rye. August is halfway over so I had better get on the stick!
 
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