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Japanese Stilt Grass Is A Tough Weed To Control

What Is Japanese Stilt Grass

Japanese Stilt GrassJapanese Stilt Grass (Microstegium vimineum) has become the bane of many gardener’s existence. It is an aggressive spreader, literally taking over acreage when one turns one’s back. It is so aggressive that it squeezes out other plant and actually can change a soil’s structure. It is a threat to both gardens and lawns.

Japanese Stilt Grass is an annual grass meaning that it germinates from seed in the spring and completely dies in the fall. It roots from its nodes, thus allowing it to spread rapidly. It thrives in both sun and shade and can tolerate low mowing.

How To Recognize Japanese Stilt Grass

Japanese Stilt Grass


Japanese Stilt Grass loosely resembles a low growing bamboo. It is bright green and has silver hairs down the center of its blade; grows to 2’ tall.



Managing Japanese Stilt Grass

Controlling Japanese Stilt Grass can be a challenging ordeal. Seeds can stay viable for several years. They are sticky and can be spread to other areas on the fur of animals.

There are, however, a few strategies that will help manage this weed:

  • Because Japanese Stilt Grass is an annual grass, well time pre-emergent herbicides will keep the seeds from germinating. This is challenging, however, because they tend to germinate earlier than crabgrass making effective control of both difficult.
  • Non selective, post emergent herbicides do work. Repeat applications may be necessary in order to completely kill the plants. Keep in mind that the will also kill any desirable plants the chemical may come in contact with and may be  harmful to wildlife and pets.
  • With patience, manual control can be effective. In late summer, gently hand remove plants from the ground making sure to get the root (Japanese Stilt Grass is a shallow rooted plant).  Also, mowing it or weed whacking it down can prevent the creation of seed heads. This is a fairly effective way method but can take several years to truly gain control of an area.



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