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Shaun Howard

Request for information/experience - small carpetgrass (Arthraxon hispidus)

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A colleague in southern Ohio reached out to the TNC invasives/stewardship email lists with questions about small carpetgrass control.  His message is as follows:


I work in southern Ohio and like many places, we’ve had an unusually wet year.  This has apparently contributed to an explosion of small carpetgrass (Arthraxon hispidus) in some of our managed grasslands. 

We’ve been mowing monocultures of Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and Chinese lespedeza (Sercicea lespedeza) before seed set in some areas and apparently by reducing the prevalence of these plants we inadvertently made a great seed bed for the carpetgrass (see photos).

Does anyone have any idea on how to combat this plant at scales in the tens of acres at once?  I’ve heard about using grass specific herbicide.  We’ve had some success with small scale applications in planted informational prairies and near facilities, but are just now testing out larger acreage applications.  Waiting to see how the larger application goes, but until then I’m still a bit hesitant to really drop it on large acreages (we’re using Fusilade II).  We’re also just trying to mow it similar to the lespedeza control, which can also be seen in the picture, although some of those mowed plants have already flowered again.

We’re concerned that the prevalence of this plant off TNC property and in much of the roadways around the preserve will just continue the cycle of “kill what’s there -> great seedbed for carpetgrasses not in the managed area -> kill what’s there -> etc. etc.”.

Devil’s advocate question: has the abundance of this plant had tangible negative effects on grassland birds or other grassland specific species in your area?  I.E. can we accept that every fall this plant will dominate, but the spring/summer months are “business as usual” for the grasslands?

Thanks for any insight - Michael P. Hall - Southern Ohio Stewardship Coordinator


So, anyone have experience with this?  Ryan Wheeler noted that it co-occurs with Japanese stiltgrass, so I feel this one could be an up-and-coming issue for all of us, especially those managing prairies/grasslands.



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