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MFC warns of invasive weed spreading in Mississippi

Photo courtesy of MFC

The Mississippi Forestry Commission is warning that South Mississippi is “under attack” from an invasive weed. 

The MFC explained that cogongrass—one of the top 10 most invasive weeds in the world— is spreading across the southern region of the state. 

Also known as Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica can be spread vegetatively or by the wind. The MFC stated that the weed is not suitable as forage for livestock or for erosion control and chokes out native species for control of soil nutrients. Its roots excrete chemicals that deter the growth of competing vegetation.

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

The MFC uses herbicides, imazapyr and glyphosate, to help control the spread of cogongrass. Herbicide treatment can be costly, but the MFC offers assistance to landowners to help offset some of the application costs.

The MFC is currently taking applications for the ‘Cogongrass Control Program’ from landowners in George, Greene, Jackson, Jones, Perry and Wayne counties. The MFC is also taking applications from landowners in other parts of the state who think they have a cogongrass infestation on their property.

Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and preference will be given to landowners in the priority counties.

The deadline for applications for the Cogongrass Control Program is January 31, 2021.

For more information or to apply for assistance through the MFC’s Cogongrass Control Program, visit www.mfc.ms.gov/cogongrass-control-program.

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