Japanese stilt grass continues its rampage across Floyd County.

Where in years past we would have had blue lobelia coming up, we have none. Resistance is futile. Native flora will be assimilated.

From Weeds Gone Wild

Japanese stiltgrass was introduced into the United States in Tennessee around 1919 and likely escaped as a result of its use as a packing material for porcelain.

Distribution and Habitat
Stiltgrass is currently established in 16 eastern states, from New York to Florida. It occurs on stream banks, river bluffs, floodplains, emergent and forested wetlands, moist woodlands, early successional fields, uplands, thickets, roadside ditches, and gas and power-line corridors. It can be found in full sun to deep shaded forest conditions and is associated with moist, rich soils that are acidic, neutral or basic and high in nitrogen.

Ecological Threat
Stiltgrass threatens native understory vegetation in full sun to deep shade. It readily invades disturbed shaded areas, like floodplains that are prone to natural scouring, and areas subject to mowing, tilling and other soil-disturbing activities including white-tailed deer traffic. It spreads opportunistically following disturbance to form dense patches, displacing native wetland and forest vegetation as the patch expands.

If there is a (hidden) snake in the grass, this is the grass it would be hidden in. Oy.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. We have a similar blight, broom, which was introduced by a Scottish pioneer quite by accident (we hope). We hate it, since it muscles it’s way into all our grassy areas, and we end up with a display of glaring yellow! Teams of volunteers work hard during the spring to pull it out, and some say we are winning the battle. I would think grass would be a lot harder to destroy!