Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cogongrass Assistance Available in Winston and Marion Counties

Cogongrass seedhead.
Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan,
Marion County Soil & Water Conservation District has received a grant from the Northwest Alabama
Resource Conservation & Development Council to assist landowners with the eradication of cogongrass.  Cogongrass is an invasive species.  It spreads by both wind-blown seeds and underground creeping rhizomes.  It is the most unwanted of all plant species in Alabama, worse than kudzu or privet.  It is usually found in small (less than 20 foot diameter) patches. Cogongrass was accidentally introduced into Alabama near Grand Bay about 1911 as seed in packing materials from Japan.  It is gradually making its way into our area.
One key identifying feature is the production of fluff, white, plume-like seedheads in early spring.  It is an opportunistic plant and can be found in forests, pastures, orchards, rights-of-way and waste areas.
For patches that are less than ½ acre in size the landowner can get assistance through this program for the area that needs to be treated.  If the patch is larger than ½ acre an application can be completed through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) administered through the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
If you think you have a patch of cogongrass do not mow through or near the area because this will aid in dispersing the seeds.  Do not do any soil work such as disking because this will aid in carrying fragments of roots to other areas.  Do not attempt to burn in areas with cogongrass before consulting with the Alabama Forestry Commission.  Any equipment that comes in contact with an infestation of cogongrass should be thoroughly cleaned.
Landowners in Marion and Winston counties should contact the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District or Natural Resource Conservation Service at 205-921-3103 ext. 3, Winston County Soil and Water Conservation District at 205-489-5227, the Alabama Forestry Commission at 205-921-3843 or 205-489-5014 or the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service at 205-921-3551 or 205-489-5376 if cogongrass is found on their property.  

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