University of Maryland Extension

Wavyleaf Basketgrass Invades

Wavyleaf Basketgrass
Image Credit: 
Steve Allgeier

A new invasive plant has arrived in Carroll County, wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius). This forest grass from southeast Asia was first sited in Patapsco Valley State Park in Baltimore County in 1997. Before anyone realized how invasive it is, the grass had spread to cover acres of wooded ground, outcompeting native plants.

Wavyleaf basketgrass is a low-lying, trailing perennial grass, branching and rooting at the lower stem nodes. The leaf blades are flat, about ½ inch wide and between 1½ and 4 inches long, and deep green with rippling waves across the grass blades. The leaf sheaths and stems are noticeably hairy, although the hairs are very short. The plant blooms in late September and into October, producing small seeds that stick to everything, including passing people and animals who disperse it to new areas.

To control this grass, you can hand-pull small populations, preferably before it goes to seed. If it has already spread to a wide area, you can spray it with1-2% glyphosate. If you accidentally wander into a patch of wavyleaf basketgrass in seed, try to remove all the seed immediately, disposing of the seed in the trash.

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