Be on the lookout! Invasive plant found in Michigan for first ti - WNEM TV 5

Be on the lookout! Invasive plant found in Michigan for first time

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Volunteers hand-remove a small patch of Japanese stiltgrass near the primary infestation in Scio Township, Washtenaw County. Photo courtesy Michigan DNR. Volunteers hand-remove a small patch of Japanese stiltgrass near the primary infestation in Scio Township, Washtenaw County. Photo courtesy Michigan DNR.
ANN ARBOR, MI (WNEM) -

Officials are warning Michigan landowners to be on the lookout for a new invader. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Friday, Sept. 1 an invasive plant called Japanese stiltgrass was found on private property near Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County. 

The invasive plant originates in Asia and has never been seen in Michigan before, the DNR said. 

>>Invasive plants found in Michigan <<

This annual grass is considered highly invasive, taking hold in areas of disturbed soil along banks, roadways and woods,” said Greg Norwood, invasive species coordinator for the DNR’s Wildlife Division. “Seeds can be transported by water or on animals, and seeds can remain viable in the soil for three to five years. Because deer don’t feed on Japanese stiltgrass, it often takes over in areas where deer browse on native plants and leave open patches of soil.” 

Japanese stiltgrass has been on the state's invasive species watch list since 2015. The grass has been found in nearby states including Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. 

The plant used to be used as packing material for fine china.

DNR officials said the original infestation of grass in Ann Arbor has been treated with herbicide and plant material was burned. The small patches of grass were removed by hand and disposed of. 

Experts are asking landowners and anyone spending time outdoors to keep an eye out for the invasive plant. Japanese stiltgrass looks like some native grasses, so it may not appear out of the ordinary to the general observer. Here is what to look for: 

  • A thin, bamboo-like grass with jointed stems and well-spaced leaves.
  • Smooth green leaves 2 to 3 inches long and one-half inch wide, tapering to points at both ends, often with an off-center silver stripe or mid-rib.
  • 1- to 3-foot-high beds of grass, with some stems running across the ground and others shooting upright.
  • Roots, both at the base and stem joints, that are weakly attached to the soil and easy to pull up.
  • One to three slender, green flower spikes at the stem tips, appearing in August or September.

To report the location and send photos of any suspect findings, email Greg Norwood at norwoodg@michigan.gov 

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