Japanese stiltgrass

Japanese stiltgrass *
Microstegium vimineum

Japanese stiltgrass

(More lawn weeds)  (Control Options)  (General Weed Gallery)

Life cycle: invasive* summer annual 
Growth habit: bright green grass has silver hairs down the center of its short
bamboo-like bladegrows up to 2 ft. tall
Reproduction: roots at nodes; elongates quickly in fall, then produces seed banks which stay viable in the soil for years
Conditions that favor growth: invades and alters disturbed soils in sun or shade
Cultural control:  prevent going to seed; hand pulls easily--very little root; do not compost plants with seed heads

Cultural control: Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.
Mechanical control: Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.
General chemical control: (lawns) A granular (apply with a spreader), selective, preemergent herbicide. Apply a preemergent without nitrogen fertilizer. Look for the active ingredient: Prodiamine (Barricade)  or other preemergents labeled for crabgrass control. 

Rainfall or irrigation is required to dissolve the herbicide, which is then absorbed into the upper portion of the soil and forms a barrier which kills weed seedlings. Preemergent grass herbicides have residual activity that lasts for several weeks after application. High temperatures and rainfall will decrease the length of time they remain at sufficient concentration to be effective.

Tips for application:

  • If planning soil disturbance, such as aeration, do it before application.
  • Apply prior to seed germination which begins, in early spring a couple of weeks before crabgrass seeds germinate.
  • Water after application, according to label.
  • Second application may be possible, usually 6-8 weeks later (see product label).
  • Consult label for specific waiting period between application and overseeding.

For a glossary of herbicide terms and additional information see: control options  

Additional information:
HG88 - Invasive Plant Control in Maryland
National Park Service publication: Weeds Gone Wild - Japanese stiltgrass
Rutgers New Jersey Ag Experiment Station: Japanese Stiltgrass Control

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