MFC: Invasive weed infests South Mississippi

MFC: Invasive weed infests South Mississippi
Cogongrass threatens forests, rangelands, natural areas, roadsides and residential areas in South Mississippi. (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi Forestry Commission is warning South Mississippi of an invasive weed that is spreading in the region.

Imperata cylindrica, also known as cogongrass or Japanese blood grass, is one of the top 10 most invasive weeds in the world and spreads quickly vegetatively or by wind.

The plant is known to choke out native species for control of soil nutrients, and its roots secrete chemicals that deter growth of competing vegetation, according to MFC. It is also not suitable as forage for livestock or for erosion control.

“Cogongrass negatively affects pine productivity and survival, wildlife habitat, recreation, native plants, fire behavior and site management costs,” said Russell Bozeman, Mississippi Forestry Commission state forester. “Its ability to rapidly spread and displace desirable vegetation makes it particularly dangerous to native ecosystems.”

The MFC is taking applications from landowners in George, Greene and Perry counties to help offset the costs of herbicides, imazapyr and glyphosate that is used to help control its spread. Limited funding is available and will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Cogongrass is a highly invasive weed that the Mississippi Forestry Commission is actively working to eradicate,” Bozeman said. “We are constantly working with our landowners to help identify and eliminate this devastating plant.”

You can apply for assistance through the MFC’s Cogongrass Control Program at mfc.ms.gov. People outside of George, Greene and Perry counties can apply for assistance through MFC’s Forest Resource Development Program at mfc.ms.gov/FRDP.

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