Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Japanese stiltgrass found in northern Illinois

Two populations of Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) were recently discovered in McHenry County in Northeast Illinois.  This plant is considered one of the most aggressive invaders in the forests of southern Illinois, and is known to occur across the southern edge of the Midwest .  Fortunately, steps are being taken to control these populations.  These populations, along with the discovery of a population in Will County in 2011, indicate that stiltgrass has the potential to establish anywhere in Illinois.  
This species spreads quickly and is likely to show up in high-use areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads, etc.  Finding and controlling any new populations before they become well established is crucial to management.  Please keep a look out for this species in the region or natural area where you work and if you find a suspect population, please report it.  There are many people and programs available to help you with verification of ID and control strategies.  If you are in NE Illinois, you can report populations to the  New Invaders Watch Program at  www.newinvaders.org.  For areas outside of NE Illinois, you can report infestations to Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan Invasive Species Campaign Coordinator at rivertoriver@gmail.com.  See this alert flyer for more information on identifying stiltgrass and reporting new infestations.  To learn about current management strategies, life history traits and current research on stiltgrass, go to the 2010 Stiltgrass Summit website at www.rtrcwma.org/stiltgrass.

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