Look For Cogongrass Following Spring Burns

We looked at a new spot of cogongrass Monday which came just after burn. This is probably why the leaves appear lighter in color.UGA Extension Forester Dr. David Moorhead says this is typical cogongrass response to a spring burn. Two to three weeks following a burn is always a good time to look for cogongrass.

Off-center midrib is key ID feature of cogongrass

Identification

If you look at other blog posts I have on cogongrass, you will see a difference in this color. We thought this was actually Johnsongrass. Once we walked into the patch, we found some off-center midribs and sharp rhizomes. Those are the two, key ID features you want to look for. Cogongrass spreads by rhizomes, which is why you see it in this circular pattern.

When you rub down the blade, you’ll feel a ‘rough’ texture, like shark skin. Quail definitely do not like to move through this grass. It’s extremely invasive and will wipe out an ecosystem in your forest. This is huge for us in Thomas County where so much timber is managed for wildlife as well.

Sharp rhizomes are another key ID feature of cogongrass. A lot of times you can place your hand on the ground (softly) and feel the rhizomes poking up.

Burning

We actually want to be cautious about burning cogongrass since it can burns around 850 degrees F. Georgia Forestry Commision Forest Health Specilist Mark McClure says most timber on our plantations are widely spaced and damage from burning cogongrass is not a high risk. Mark says this is actually a good time to burn cogongrass and is a good idea to burn it if we see it. This is because fresh growth of cogongrass helps when treated.

Control

We are very, very fortunate in Georgia to have help from the Georgia Forestry Commission on treating these spots at no charge. Mark McClure coordinates the Task Force of the Georgia Forestry Commission which treats reported cogongrass. If you see what looks like cogongrass, call the Georgia Forestry Commission or the Thomas County Extension Office (225-4130) to get a positive ID so it can be treated.

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