JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – One of the top ten invasive plants in the world is here in Mississippi. It’s beginning to overrun land animal habitats around the gulf coast and Pine Belt. To give you details and tips on how to fight off the weed we spoke to the Mississippi Forestry Commission.
It’s called cogongrass and it’s been in the United States since the early 1900s. It was brought from Southeast Asia to Alabama and has spread rapidly ruining livestock and native plants. Forest experts want everyone to take action.
Known as the “perfect weed” cogongrass first came to Mississippi as a forage crop but was quickly discovered to do more harm than good.
“No livestock will eat it,” Jason Scott of the Forestry Commission explained. “Not even goats will eat this stuff. It’s too wispy and weedy to be ground stabilization, so it doesn’t work for erosion control.”
Behind by decades on knowledge of the plant the forestry commission is now forced to play catch-up treating over 4500 acres of cogongrass infestations from Jackson county all the way up to Rankin.
“It chokes out all the other native vegetation,” Scott continued. “It runs under the ground, it’s very resistant to fire.”
If you see this plant beginning to grow anywhere on your property or forests around your home, the forestry commission urges you to call their office to set up plans on how to kill it off.
“We have a lot of programs that help landowners that have a cogongrass infestation on their land,” Scott said. “We will go in and help spray the herbicide to help control its spread.”
Some key identification points on the plant are blades of yellowish-green grass growing very close together with slightly off-center stripes and white seeds blooming on top.
“When it blooms in early spring it produces a lot of seed heads,” Scott said. “Those seed heads can get carried by wind, livestock, equipment, it can spread very quickly.”
Don’t bother trying to burn the invasive weed, because cogongrass can produce flames up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit when lit. Growing back faster and easier with no native plants to compete within the soil.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission right now is only helping those with cogongrass infestation in Jackson, George, Greene, and Perry Counties. But to learn about all other programs to protect your property click here.