Aliens are invading our forests, pastures, fields and lawns.


Aliens are invading our forests, pastures, fields and lawns. 



Actually, they are invasive weeds called cogongrass. 



Cogongrass — brought as packing material into Mobile, Ala., in the early 1900s — was later planted in Florida and other states as a potential forage and soil stabilizer. It has low forage value and is on the Federal Noxious Weed List. 



Drought and shade tolerant, it is yellowish green with an offset midrib and a fluffy white seed head. A single plant can produce 3,000 seeds. It grows in circular colonies. Mowing or burning while the plants are flowering can cause spread of seeds. 



The weed can spread through creeping rhizomes and seeds and quickly displaces desirable grasses and plants. Its roots may produce allelopathic chemicals that help it out-compete other plants for space.



Getting rid of it



Removing a cogongrass infestation requires intensive management. Mowing and burning will not eradicate it. Ditto for herbicide options.



For small infestations less than 20-30 feet in diameter, treat the area with glyphosate once in the fall and once in the spring for three years, or until eradicated. 



A more integrated approach may be necessary for larger infestations. Adding a burn or tilling the soil may help in some cases. 



Cogongrass is not easy to eradicate, so it will take a coordinated effort from government agencies and private landowners. 



Jennifer Bearden is an agent at the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.



UPCOMING PROGRAMS



ANNUITIES 101 WEBINAR:11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 16. Register: http://bit.ly/Annuities101.



LANDSCAPE PROBLEMS— DISEASES AND WEEDS: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. May 17, 3098 Airport Road, Crestview. Cost: $10.



SAVING STRATEGIES— YOUR HOME LANDSCAPE:11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 23. Register: http://bit.ly/LandscapeSaving



4-H CAMP: June 10-14, for ages 8-12. Cost: $220 per person. Contact Haley Worley, 689-5850 or hbworley@ufl.edu. Registration packets are available at 3098 Airport Road, Crestview.



BUILDING YOUR FINANCES FOR RETIREMENT: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 20. Register: http://bit.ly/PlanRetire.



Jennifer Bearden is an agent at the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.